Leeds Trinity Business Network is a thriving, informal and free network with an opportunity to make good connections, raise your profile and learn something new to grow your business.
Our March event, entitled, 'First Impressions Online', explored organic website SEO and social media to build relationships. Jess Sewter, Head of Partnerships, Placements and Employability, shares her thoughts:
Everyone knows that first impressions count, but we often just assume that it's when you first meet someone face-to-face. What about if they're looking at your online profile, social media channels or business website? How do you create a good first impression online?
At the Leeds Trinity Business Network lunch on Wednesday 28 March (re-scheduled from 28 February due to the snow!), the network focused on exactly that.
Following a lovely lunch from caterers West Park Deli and networking in our conference suite, Robert Pal, Website Design Director at Creative Shed, delved into organic search engine optimisation, the success factors of SEO and what you can do on and off the page to support your Google (or other search engine) rankings. But before anything, he offered one piece of advice:
"If your website doesn't have a SSL secure connection – [i.e. there's no green padlock in the address bar] – you must make your website secure by 25 May 2018. It's at this point that new legislation comes in around data protection and Google will no longer promote websites that are not https:// secure. Act now or it will have a massive impact on your website traffic immediately."
To increase organic SEO, Robert focused on three areas:
- Create relevant, unique and accurate content
- Be the authoritative, expert voice in your sector
- Use language that your audience uses and therefore the type of language they're likely to search for online
- Ensure you have a fast website – users will not wait for content to load, causing a high bounce rate and potential loss of customers
- Secure your website with https:// and SSL certificate
- Have a mobile-friendly, responsive website
- People are impatient – if your site isn't functional you could lose traffic and potential customers
- Use appropriate menus, page titles and descriptions
Thank you also to Robert for sharing two completely free websites about how fast your website is; Google's PageSpeed Insights and GT Metrix.
Following Robert's insightful talk, social media expert and Leeds Trinity lecturer Liz Cable took to the stage to share her tops tips for creating a good impression online. She said:
- People do business with people
- Your profile picture should always be a photograph of you and not a logo or landscape photo – think eyes and teeth!
- Dress to impress
- Have an up-to-date photograph – do you now wear glasses? Have you changed your hair colour? Could somebody recognise you in a room if they saw your photo?
- Make the most of pinned posts – what is the first thing you want people to see when they land on your page? Use a pinned post wisely!
- Find your tribe
- Social media isn't just about talking to customers – it's about identifying people who can support you and your business.
- Get their attention by responding and engaging with them and hopefully they'll share messages about you in return
- Build up your following – once you get to 2,000 followers, people will start to take you seriously!
- Use hashtags well
- Use hashtags to find your audience e.g. Leeds United fans will most likely have #LUFC on their tweets
- Use hashtags during live events – even if you're not there! Follow the event and interact with people. You might even make it onto their Twitter wall if they have one.
- Use the right amount of hashtags for each platform – on Instagram, hashtag everything, on Twitter use two or three maximum.
- Add value
- As well as creating content, think about curating content – find other useful content and share it to your followers
- Use sites such as Feedly that feeds you interesting content based on previous posts
- Be present
- Scheduling is useful but it should always be Plan B
- Plan A is being there, in the moment, posting about an event, a meeting, a conversation – it's much more authentic and much more useful
- Have a consistent presence
- Every tweet and status update builds up to tell a story about your brand and your values – make sure it's consistent, and if it's not, don't be afraid to delete it
- But… don't delete posts if people have already responded – that's just rude!
- Create lists
- Lists are a great way to share your expertise and information for end users
- When compiling a list, use an odd number and don't use multiples of 5 – it's too predictable to do a top 10, why not do 9 or 11 instead?
And some other useful bits from Liz:
- Consider using Apps on your phone to manage social media channels such as Crowdfire
- Consider boosting your Klout score (a score of 40 plus is good, Liz is on 55!)
It was a really great session at the #LTBN lunch and I really hope everyone enjoyed it. You can view all the photographs from the event by joining our Facebook group, and you can follow the conversation on Twitter.
Join us in April for our next Leeds Trinity Business Network Lunch. I hope to see you there!