THE BRITISH LIBRARY

Innovation and enterprise blog

The British Library Business & IP Centre can help you start, run and grow your business

Introduction

This blog is written by members of the Business & IP Centre team and some of our expert partners and discusses business, innovation and enterprise. Read more

01 December 2017

The five Step Facebook Marketing Strategy

Some companies seem to run their Facebook pages with so much ease. You know the ones; thousands of likes, fans tripping over themselves to be a part of the hot conversation…

… it makes you wonder what they are doing right, and what you are doing so terribly wrong!

Certain businesses are simply lazy when it comes to Facebook marketing. Perhaps they try a few posts, maybe no one replies and then they just give up.

Some business pages go totally the other way. Often sharing post after post with little thought as to what their audience is actually looking for. 

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Perhaps it’s the familiarity of Facebook that makes it difficult to grasp. Many business owners use Facebook personally so it can be tempting to try the same approach on your business page that you use for your personal page.

Whatever the problem may be, we see countless examples of businesses with bad Facebook marketing strategies.

Despite Facebook feeling like second nature to some, there is still a large knowledge gap for small business owners when it comes to Facebook marketing. Often, they simply aren't aware of how much they could achieve with the platform - or how to use it effectively.

With 1.32 billion daily active users, Facebook is a channel you simply cannot afford to miss.

We’re going to talk you through some simple steps to get you up to speed with using Facebook for business. If you don’t already have a Facebook page, you will want to set one up first. 

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1. It all starts with a plan

You may have already adopted a haphazard approach when it comes to managing your business page: we’re here to put an end to this. By defining what you want to achieve, you have a greater chance of achieving success.

Goals

For someone who is new to Facebook marketing, it’s easy to get caught up in collecting likes and focusing on this as the primary measurement of your success. As exciting as it may be to gain new followers, this alone will not do a great deal for your business.

When you think about goals, extend your thoughts beyond Facebook. After all, the purpose of having a platform is to generate more interest in your business and drive traffic back to your website.

Here are some common goals for Facebook business pages:

  • Generating Leads
  • Increasing blog or website traffic
  • Building brand awareness
  • Providing customer service

Audience

Once you know what you want to achieve, begin getting to know your audience better. It’s important to know your audience; what excites them, what makes them share posts, what encourages them to get involved?

If you already have a business page, your Facebook analytics will help you get a good idea of which types of posts perform best. If you are new to Facebook, take a look at your competitor’s pages. What areas are they having success in? Find out what posts resonate with your chosen audience and you are already one step ahead.

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2. Share great content

Once you’ve set some solid goals and defined your audience, you can start planning what exactly you are going to share.

If your goal is to increase product sales, you may think that you’re Facebook page is going to be full of lovely product photos. Wrong. This kind of sales oriented page isn’t going to cut it on Facebook.

Yes, you want your audience to be wowed by your amazing products but you also need to give them a reason to follow you and trust you. Think about what else you have you got to offer them besides a great product?

Creating a broad mix of content is the best way to do this, mix your own content with other peoples, share a range of photos and videos as well as just blogs. This way you can then look at what works and what doesn’t and create a strategy that is targeted specifically at your audience.

 You want to be seen as an expert in your industry, someone who keeps their finger on the pulse.

And don’t forget: everything shared on your page should show your brand personality. (If you haven’t already set the tone for your brand, you should get that together immediately.)

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3. Get talking

It’s a good idea to focus on increasing engagement as part your Facebook strategy.

Engagement constitutes the number of individuals sharing, liking and commenting on your posts. Their doing so vastly increases the visibility of your posts and the visibility of your business on Facebook, as the platform prioritises valuable and engaging content.

Putting your content out there is only half the work. It’s a social network, the whole point is to get people talking. People need to be prompted and you may need to draw attention to yourself in order to be heard.

Ask questions about trending topics, share photos that spark a conversation, share customer stories and make sure that when people do engage with you, they get a reply. The buzz will soon die down if people’s comments are ignored.

This may be a slow process at first, but working out what does and doesn’t work for your audience, is the only way you will create that buzz and keep people engaged.

This leads me on to my next point.

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4. Track it, measure it, tweak it.

A lot of the initial work with Facebook is trial and error. Your audience is unique to your brand and as such, you need to work out what works for you.

Facebook makes it easy for us marketers to analyse what is working and what isn’t with its own dedicated analytics suite, Facebook Audience Insights.

Here, you can see exactly what is working on Facebook and what isn't. Are people getting fed up with all those news updates you thought were interesting? Do you receive a higher engagement with your blog shares than your product images?

Facebook Insights also gives you a breakdown of the specific times at which you get the most activity, this can help you figure out the optimal time to post for your audience.

When you work out what people are looking for, you can tweak what you share to increase engagement and increase the number of people taking actions.

This is an iterative process which can be made simpler by following the earlier steps. Defining what works early on can ensure you find your perfect content mix quickly

5.Give it a boost!

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Following the previous steps will help you get everything right in terms of what to share and how to encourage engagement. This gives you a better chance of getting seen - but it's by no means foolproof.

The problem we all face is a lack of visibility. Facebook estimates that only 16% of your fans see any one of your posts organically.

So how can you further increase your chances of being spotted? Paid promotion is the key.

You don't need a huge budget to start promoting your posts. A modest outlay can ensure your important posts are being given greater visibility.  Facebook even allows you to target certain demographics, set your daily budget and length of a campaign.

Promoted posts are a quick, targeted and effective way to reach more of your target audience.

However, if you want promoted posts you work, you will need to keep on top of them. Tracking and tweaking are vital to success.

If you follow the steps above and dedicate the time to tweaking and testing, it will help you increase traffic to your website and help to achieve your other goals, whether that be the sale of a product or even just collecting emails addresses for your mailing list.

If, like many, you are new to Facebook marketing following this simple and effective plan will get you started on your first campaign. Good luck and remember to keep at it!

Alasdair is a top marketing consultant who also runs workshops at The British Library.  For more advice, why not come along to one of Grow’s workshops at The British Library Business & IP Centre?

27 November 2017

Keeping your business safe from the cyber criminals

 
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Cybercrime is on the rise, and small businesses are increasingly being targeted. Whilst it can be easy to imagine that only large corporations fall prey to cyber attacks, do not be fooled. A small business is just a likely as a large multi-national enterprise to be the victim of cybercrime, but because these incidents do not receive as much media coverage they can easily go unnoticed. In fact, recent data shows that more than 50% of small businesses have experienced a cyber attack. Whatever size your business is, a cyber attack is like a wildfire that can spread through your system rapidly if you aren’t vigilant enough. The consequences of cybercrime can also severely affect your businesses reputation, finance and productivity, as well as putting you and your customers at risk. 

We want to help small businesses to be informed about the risks of cybercrime, and what they can do minimise the threat to their business. That’s why we’ve teamed up with top IT support company Lucidica to deliver a new series of cybersecurity seminars giving you the lowdown on how to identify, protect and prevent an attack. 

The first seminar takes place on January 25th, 2018 and we’ve caught up with Josh Evans – one of Lucidica’s top tech engineers – to tell us more about the murky world of cybercrime and give you a sneak peek of what you can expect from the session.

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1. Josh, thanks for partnering with us to guide small businesses through the world of cybercrime. Could you explain more about what actually happens during a cybercrime event?

Basically, there are essentially six keys steps to a cyber attack that business owners should know about. It’s vital that small business owners understand how hackers are spying into their systems to help them identify potential breaches. These six steps are:

  1. Information Gathering: this is where your potential hacker is spying on you and exploring what sort of data you are likely to hold.
  2. Network Mapping: at this stage, the hacker begins studying your connectivity online to paint a fuller picture of your network and reach; this might include looking into partner organisations or collaborators.
  3. Vulnerability Identification: hackers are super skilled at finding the unprotected spots in your network and exploiting these.
  4. Penetration: once a hacker has identified a definite weakness in your system, the initial attack commences.
  5. Privilege Escalation: once the hacker has penetrated your system, the virus or bug can begin replicating and spreads, compromising more and more of your precious data as it grows.
  6. Maintaining Access: as soon as the bug is in your system, it’s too late and resolving the issue is likely to be costly in terms of times, money and resources. The key thing to remember is that prevention is always better than cure, so it’s essential that small businesses understand how to protect themselves from the risks, especially at the earlier stages. 

2. So how can a small business actually identify where the weaknesses in their system are?

This does differ depending on the type of business as well as the IT set-up and the way that business processes data and information. In addition, attackers are constantly evolving and advancing to find more sophisticated and discrete ways to breach into IT systems, so even if you have taken steps to protect yourself it’s really important to stay up-to-date. That said, the key areas of any IT system which tend to be the most vulnerable to attack are:

  • Configuration issues
  • Cross-site scripting
  • Information disclosure

In the seminar we explore these areas in more detail, including how they might apply to individual businesses and systems, as well as discuss strategies to mitigate risks and stay safe.

5 top-tips for marketing your business on a shoe-string

3. What kind of threats are currently on the internet that small businesses should know about?

Again, this is evolving all the time as hackers become more sophisticated and skilled, but the main current threats include:

Ransomware – this is a type of malicious software that steals your data and holds it hostage, usually on the threat of publishing it or perpetually blocking access unless a payment is made. Ramsomware has been in existence since 2005 and continues to be a major threat, especially to companies that hold sensitive data.

 Wannacry – this well-known attack case study affected 230k computers in over 150 countries. Wannacry works by bypassing the firewall as a trojan, most likely as a phishing or spear phishing attack. It then exploits gaps in the system to spread inside the network like a worm, meaning any unpatched systems can be affected without user action and prompts, which makes it especially difficult to detect.

Social Engineering – Social Engineering modes of attack rely on human interaction and essentially ‘trick’ people into breaking normal security procedures. They use techniques that appeal to vanity, authority and greed and include various subcategories such as baiting, phishing, spear phishing, pretexting and spam.

At the seminar we share hints, tips and strategies to help you stay aware and spot the tell-tale signs of various types of cyberattack, and what to do next if you suspect you have been hacked. We will also look in more detail at how baiting and phishing scams work as well, as how future tech and IT developments (such as Bitcoin) might affect cyber risks to your business.

Being aware of how cybercrime works is the start of keeping yourself and your business protected online. The key to keeping your data and assets safe in the digital world is to stay one step ahead of the game so that you can treat any vulnerabilities in good time to prevent attacks taking place, or act quickly when they do.

You can book your place at our ‘Protect your business from cyber attacks’ seminar here for just £15. With the average cost of a cyber attack on a small firm now standing at over £400,000, it could be the best £15 you’ve ever spent!

Come and join us on January 25th, 2018 and let’s fight these online attackers together.

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The Lucidica Team - helping you protect your business from cybercrime

 

 

21 November 2017

Why in-person marketing trumps content and digital

How to use events to market your business

Contemporary marketing talk is all about marketing automation, content and sales funnels. There’s a significant amount of value to be gained from streamlining your marketing and sales processes – but there’s one thing all these marketing tactics and strategies are aiming for: to get you in front of your potential customer/partner/lead.

Marketing is about relationships, and however fabulous your website and digital marketing are, you’re ultimately aiming to have a personal conversation with the right person to buy your product or service or build a partnership.

And that happens in person.

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In-person marketing is the future (as well as the past). As people increasingly hide behind their multiple work communication channels – email, slack, WhatsApp, Twitter, Instagram – it seems like it’s hard enough to get someone on the phone, let alone meet in person.

And that’s why events are the heart and soul of building an effective sales and marketing strategy.

You’re either at someone else’s event – as a speaker, sponsor, exhibitor or just plain participant – and if you’ve selected the right event they’ve brought your market to you. Or you host your own events – which needs careful and targeted marketing – and position yourself in the middle of your market sector and the business potentially comes to you.

Sasha Frieze, a visiting lecturer in Event Management at Westminster University, is leading a 3-hour Masterclass: How to use events to market your business at 10am on Thursday 30th November at the British Library Business and IP Centre in Kings Cross, where she will leverage her 25+ years’ experience in the events industry to walk you through 8 strategies to help you harness the power of events to market your business.