• Welcome!

    Welcome to my blog. This is the blog of Karly Ellis. You will soon find content about books, art, design and social media. There might be a bit about health and fitness from time to time too! It’s early days at the moment, but am planning on writing all sorts of interesting content to share insights on these subjects and showcase some of my work. This is a work in progress. It’s early days at the moment, so please bear with me! Hope this is of interest to someone out there. If not though, I am going to enjoy writing anyway!

    I am a digital marketing professional. I help people (and companies)market their businesses and get found by their target clients.

    Alternative bio: I am a digital marketing professional with a background in motion graphics, video production and web design. I love reading books, writing and all manner of creative pursuits.

  • Is Instagram the Right Channel for your Business?

    The advantage of Instagram over other social media platforms

    People are more likely to follow and engage with brands on Instagram than any other social media platforms. It is a great tool for building brand awareness, engagement and driving traffic to your website and has a much better engagement rate than Facebook and Twitter. It’s a storytelling platform, where you can take visitors on an imaginative journey.

    It works best for businesses that have visual products – these see the highest engagement rates and those whose audience demographic is on IG (Millenials) It’s also a worth using the platform for linking out to the other social networks like Facebook and Twitter.

    For small ‘local’ businesses, Instagram is a great platform for finding potential customers and brand advocates in the local area and spread the word about your product or service. Or make it easy for others to spread the word!

    Types of business best suited to Instagram

    Brick and mortar businesses like cafes, restaurants and bars can benefit when customers tag them and share photos taken at these places. Although most of the success stories are B2C, service based organisations who have benefitted from using Instagram, to show company culture and behind the scenes content which can help communicate brand values and build awareness of the company attracting both customers and employees.

    The most active audience are the under 35s, so it’s a great place for reaching millennials. It’s also a good place for businesses to connect with their audience on an emotional level and persuade them to care about your brand. The mobile nature of it allows brands to capture moments that feel authentic and casual.

    Allows followers to interact with brands in a more casual way than other platforms, which results in high engagement. So businesses can build strong relationships with their followers.

    Story Telling

    It’s the perfect place to tell the story of your brand by giving a behind the scenes look at your business or posting pics of items being made or designed.

    • Photos that show your business has a personality
    • Tell stories about your customers – people like recognition and also acts as social proof – earned media is the most trusted form of advertising.
    • Allows businesses to add some depth to what they are doing and results in more followers and engagement.

    Competitions

    Instagram is a great network for hosting competitions.

    It is the perfect network to build a bigger audience which you can drive to other platforms. The barrier to entry for competitions is much easier than Facebook. There are not many rules to running a comp on IG compared to FB.

    The competition can be as simple as ‘like a post’ or ‘follow to enter’. Competitions are also a good way of building hype around a product.

    Contests like photo challenges, using a relevant hashtag or tag a friend contest are harder to enter but a great way to expand a brand’s reach.

    The Drawbacks of Instagram

    You do have to post quality content consistently. Followers expect a high quality feed from businesses, which can be time consuming compared to the other social networks.

    Cannot share other people’s content without permission. Though it is reasonable to post other people’s content (I recommend the Repost app), as long as you at least credit them.

    In Summary

    Although Instagram requires more time and energy than most of the other social media channels, I believe it is worth putting the time in,  to build a highly engaged network that will keep your business top of mind when they are looking to buy the product you offer. Instagram might not be the best channel for those only interested in a quick result, might see better results on other platforms, but for those willing to play the long game, Instagram will pay dividends.

  • Digital Mums Course

    As part of the Digital Mums course I took this year, I ran a social media campaign called ‘Mission Happiness’. My aim was to encourage people to take care of their health with the goal of feeling good, rather than just looking good.
    The platforms I focussed on were Twitter and Instagram, though I also ran a Facebook page. Over the 10 week period that I ran the campaign I managed to gain over 1000 followers on Twitter, 400 followers on Instagram and just over 350 on Facebook. A result I was very happy with, though only just met the KPIs set by Digital Mums to pass the course.
    Most importantly though, I learnt a vast amount about social media and the importance of metrics other than just numbers of followers, as the level of engagement was impressive.
    My key learnings were… That it is important to actually be social! It sounds obvious, but it is too easy to get caught up in pushing out content, and forget to interact with others. This was emphasised when I commented on one of Carly Rowena’s tweets, answering a question and she retweeted my reply to her many thousands of followers. So a combination of actually being social and targeting key influencers within the industry, were crucial to the success of my campaign.
    Another important lesson I took away from the course was the importance of defining personas for the target market. Although, I have worked with marketing personas in the past, it was very useful having some personas defined at the beginning of the campaign which could be referred back to and guide the content strategy. As was able to imagine whether these personas would be interested in the posts, and not just create posts that I would like to read!
    The course also re enforced the importance of monitoring metrics, and making decisions based on these analytics findings. It was particularly interesting and at times surprising on the paid ad campaigns I experimented with, that the ones I expected to convert less actually outperformed the ones with the ad copy I had anticipated would be more effective.
    So, all in all, I learnt an awful lot during the 6 months of the course, through the practical application of the social media campaign, and interaction with others on the course and the campaigns they ran and have a great toolkit of techniques and skills to run social media campaigns to increase brand awareness for most types of business.

    Photo by rawpixel.com on Unsplash
     

    rawpixel.com

  • Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine – Gail Honeyman

    This was a heart-warming read and exactly what I needed! A neighbour left this book on my doorstep a few days ago, and I had a quick flick through, to see what it was like and couldn’t stop laughing. Although it was also very sad in places, it was uplifting at the same time.

    There is always a worry with a much-hyped book that it won’t quite live up to expectations (so disappointing when this happens) and I did start reading with some slight trepidation. I needn’t have worried though as I absolutely adored Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine from the very first page.

    This book reminded me in some ways to A Man Called Ove by Fredrik Backman and The Rosie Project by Graeme Simsion as these books also feature a protagonist who is socially awkward but I really think that Gail Honeyman’s novel has so much more depth and compassion. Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine is a wonderful novel which, through its strong characterisation and powerful storytelling drew me in to Eleanor’s world. We meet her when she is working for a design agency filled with cool, hip people and is the butt of their jokes and subject of their gossip. She works in accounts and whilst she says she is fine, she really, really isn’t. Her life is empty, she drinks two bottles of vodka every weekend, has a weekly phone call with her mummy, eats the same meals every day and her only friend is a plant in her living room.

    Eleanor has met a man and having decided that he is The One, she sets about making him fall in love with her – the only problem is he has never met her before and has no idea she even exists. Whilst this makes it sound like this book is some kind of rom-com it isn’t – this is an example of Eleanor’s lack of social awareness and I found it totally endearing. Gail Honeyman has created a wonderful character in Eleanor, I fell head over heels in love with her, I loved her quirks, I loved her thought processes and there were moments of complete overwhelming sadness where I wanted to climb into the pages and comfort her.

    This book is filled with moments of beautiful sweetness, particularly her friendship with Raymond which I thought was honest and believable. It would be easy for these moments to be saccharine and cloying but they’re not at all – his genuine regard for her and compassion was realistic and heart-warming. Gail Honeyman has a deft touch and avoids veering into mawkish territory. Eleanor’s past is hinted at – there are dark shadows lurking at the edge of the page and when the truth unravels it is heart-rending and brutal.

    This book absolutely destroyed me – I think the last book that affected me so much was A Little Life by Hanya Yanagihara (if you haven’t read this, please do, it is a masterpiece). I keep thinking about it and I really want to talk about it (I can’t wait to get to book club!) because it is funny, sincere, thought-provoking and utterly, utterly devastating. Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine deserves all the plaudits it is getting and I am stunned that this is Gail Honeyman’s debut novel. Accomplished and assured I can’t wait to see what the future holds for her. I’ll be giving this book a 10 at book club – something which doesn’t happen very often.

  • What is Search Engine Marketing (SEM?)

    SEM is the process of making your website visible to search engines.

    Bringing consumers to your website and presenting them with content relevant to their needs.
    From a business perspective it is important to tailor the links and messages to make potential customers aware of product information relevant to their current need and stage in the customer journey.

    4 stages of customer journey:

    * Awareness – just browsing, not intending to buy yet and open to new ideas
    * Research – have a specific need, but not sure how to fulfil that need
    * Decision – know what they’re looking for and browsing web to find that item to find out price and see the item
    * Action – need to know where and how they can buy the product

    The search process starts with a need. An individual at the awareness stage might type in ‘smart phones’. The search engine results page (SERP) shows two types of results:

    * Organic or natural search results – the equivalent of editorial in a magazine
    * Paid for or pay per click (PPC) which can be of two types:
    *
    * Text based ads
    * Ad Extensions, which provide further information about a product or price or request for a call back

    Search is an important element of digital marketing as Google (and some of the other search engines) are widely used and trusted by a vast number of people around the world. For most consumers search is at the centre of buying decisions. Websites which are on the first page of Google, particularly in the top few positions get much more traffic than those listed on subsequent pages.

    Ranking highly on Google (either through SEO or PPC) is likely to influence people’s decision to make a purchase.

  • The Advantages of WordPress

    One of the reasons WordPress is so popular is that it is great for search engine optimisation and social media integration. It is also easy to use. I’ve used other Content Management System (CMS)s in the past which my clients have found difficult to use. I have other CMS systems up in favour of WordPress.

    Google loves WordPress sites because of the site architecture (WordPress makes it very easy for Google to navigate around the site, with google friendly naming conventions and site map), and with appropriate plugins (for example Platinum SEO) WordPress sites automatically send out information to Google (and other search engines), every time new content is added to the site and frequent updates help improve Search Engine Optimisation (SEO).Wordpress sites are created so that each individual page and post of the site have their own metatags, so individual pages will be found by search engines based on their keywords).

    WordPress is the best platform for integrating social media. For example a twitter feed, which will show latest tweets on your website – helping SEO and also keeping people coming back to your site to see updates, so useful for those without a Twitter account. LinkedIn and Facebook status updates can be added in the same way.

    Another really great Plugin for WordPress is ‘Sexy bookmarks’ which allows people viewing your site to post your content to Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn and other social networks, giving you extra publicity and more links back to your site.

    A WordPress site won’t cost much more than a static site, and even if you’re not intending on updating the site much in the near future, it does mean you can update and add to the site very easily without having it rebuilt. Even for just adding a new testimonial or recent news item, WordPress makes this much easier than a static site which isn’t built with a CMS.