Where have my notifications gone?

When you create a Facebook Business Manager account and add a page to your account, by default, you will not see your Page’s notifications on your personal Facebook mobile app or notifications from your personal account anymore. For some, this separation between personal and work accounts is a relief. For others, it creates major panic.

When you add your page to your Business Manager profile on business.facebook.com, which is the Business Manager, Facebook automatically moves your access to the page away from Facebook.com to business.facebook.com. This is a default setting. Don’t stress, there’s a way to keep your page in Business Manager (to make Marketing Agencies like us happy!) and also revert back to receiving notifications for your page on your Facebook app or Facebook.com.

Here’s how to keep your Page in Business Manager and still get your notifications

To get your Facebook page notifications back on your personal account and your personal Facebook app, you’ll need to head over to Facebook’s Business Manager and log in. Ready?

Once logged in, click the 3 lines icon on the top left, then click on “Business Settings”. If you don’t see Business Settings right away, make sure you click the “Expand Menu” arrow icon on the top right of the menu so that you can see the entire list.

 

If you still can’t find the Business Settings option, you may be toggled onto your personal account vs the Business’ account in Business Manager. I know, it’s confusing. Double-check to make sure your company name or logo is on the top bar by the notifications icon (bell). If not, click on the name that’s there to toggle to the business account.

Business Settings is the main hub of the Business Manager. It’s where you can find all of your assets, manage access permissions settings, and also change your notifications settings.

You Need to Change Your Notifications Settings in Business Manager

While you’re in the Business Settings section, scroll all the way down to the “Business Info” section. See below for a reference of what you’re looking for.

There are two things here you’ll need to adjust:

  1. Under Business Info -> Pages and Notifications, toggle the “off” slider to the right of the “Pages and Notifications” area to “on”.
  2. Scroll a tad further down to where it says, “My Info”, then click the “Edit” button. The last thing to do is to toggle the “off” slider to the right of the “Pages and Notifications” area to “on”.

Yes!!! With these settings on, you’ll be able to access your page’s notifications and write posts just like you did before you had Business Manager. Your marketing consultant will be able to access the page in Business Manager as he/she/they requested, and you can continue on as you were on the app and facebook.com. Win-win!


Billboards and outdoor advertising

If you need to make a big impact in your local area, outdoor advertising can raise your profile and deliver results. Poster ads put your message right in front of your potential customers as they're walking, shopping or driving.

Why outdoor advertising works

While some traditional advertising media are in decline, out-of-home (OOH) advertising is growing in popularity. It works because it is seen by everyone when they leave their house - a huge cross-section of potential consumers.

Poster advertising is attention-grabbing, and does not require the audience to do anything to see it. You don't have to tune in or click on it or turn a page.

At the same time, most people regard it as less intrusive than other advertising methods. Indeed, a lot of outdoor advertising is engaging, providing colour, humour and interest.

In locations where it sits in front of a captive audience - on public transport or at waiting rooms, for instance - it can even be thought of as a welcome distraction.

Where to advertise outdoors

Outdoor promotion is not just about massive billboards on the side of the road. There are poster sites and sizes to suit all budgets. Your choice will be driven by how well you understand your target market.

If your target market is largely defined by living in your local area, a few well-chosen poster spots and advertising signs could raise your business' profile and drive sales.

Public transport provides opportunities to get valuable outdoor exposure for your business. Advertising spaces on buses, trains, trams, the tube, in taxis and at airports are all highly visible, and put your message in front of a captive audience. They are ideal if you are targeting businesspeople and commuters in your area.

Outdoor advertising on the high street and in shopping centres catches your potential customers while they are in shopping mode. A good poster campaign can prompt people to buy your products there and then, especially if you are running a promotion as an incentive.

Creative posters and outdoor advertising campaigns

One of the key considerations for any outdoor advertisement is how long the audience will view the ad for. A roadside billboard has to convey its message in seconds, while other sites, such as station platforms, buses and taxis, may be studied for longer.

Distance is also a factor. Roadside posters need to be simple, with clear images and as few words as possible.

Advertisements that will be viewed for longer allow you to include more information. Details of a specific promotion, a call to action and contact details can be given.

However, a simple message and a clear identity are always essential. Colours should be bold, and the ad should be easily visible from a distance. Humour, strong images and wordplay will make an impact and make your message and brand more memorable.

Buying outdoor advertising space

Most outdoor advertising is bought via specialist agencies, although it is possible to deal directly with the owner of the advertising space.

The key consideration in terms of choosing a site is audience measurement, or "reach". When choosing your sites, ask about the reach of each one. A good contractor will be able to tell you how many people see the site on average, per week or per month, and what types of people pass by.

Advertising on your business premises and vehicles

Don't forget to make use of your own premises. Good signage is essential. It is also worth customising your company car or van. Vehicle advertising is highly visible and it conveys an aura of success and professional pride. It can also carry your contact details.


Six things you need to know about Facebook

Facebook offers more opportunities for businesses than ever before. Gemma Went suggests six ways to get the most out of this constantly evolving social media site

Most people use Facebook to keep up with family and friends, and share hilarious cat videos (I do that too); but Facebook also has a lot to offer if you run your own small business.

1. Getting the basics right

Use a distinct, recognisable headshot as your profile picture. You want to be memorable, even if someone is scrolling past you in a newsfeed, so don't use logos or group shots.

You should also create a striking cover photo which promotes your latest offer or free opt-in - add the words "click for more" to the image, and then fill the description area with useful welcome text.

To set up a vanity URL (ie www.facebook.com/yourbusinessname), visit Facebook Username Settings, then click Select a Username, pick your page from the dropdown list and enter your chosen name. Once you're happy, click confirm and you're done. You must have 25 or more likes to be able to do this.

Introduce yourself by writing a nice little bio (including an organically placed keyword or two), as well as pinning a welcome message to the top of your page. You get bonus points if your welcome message is in video form.

2. Pages are not the same as Groups

There's a lot of discussion about which is better for your business - Facebook Pages or Facebook Groups. In fact they are both important. The two have such different purposes and functions that they're simply not interchangeable.

A Facebook Page is like a personal profile for your business, and allows your fans to follow a brand. It's very easy to update, you can post whatever you like (following the FB guidelines of course), and you can personalise it in line with your brand. And using Facebook Insights you can monitor the performance of each of your posts - which is essential if you want to run ads.

However, there are a few downsides. For starters, everything is out in the open. You can't stop people from seeing what you post (or what others post), and communication (especially between fans) can be difficult to manage. You will also have to fight the newsfeed algorithm, which tends be tougher on page updates than group updates. It can be difficult to grow a page organically, so you will need to work hard at it.

A Facebook Group is a place to bring people together who are interested in a particular topic. It's a powerful tool for building connections, but it is more about a personal presence than a brand.

You may be reaching a narrower audience, but it will also be a more focused one. Again, it takes time and effort to build a large, engaged audience, but it's worth it.

How you use Pages and Groups depends on your goals. Do you want to promote your business or establish yourself as an expert? Do you want to cultivate a community? Do you need to run ads? Think about all of these things and then work out which is right for you.

3. Facebook lists enable targeting

As you grow your business, you'll get more and more friend requests from colleagues, clients and other interested parties. Some entrepreneurs have a blanket "friends only" policy, others don't. If you want to keep those connections, while still maintaining a work-free Facebook profile, I have the answer for you - Facebook lists.

Facebook lists enable you to separate your friends into groups, then each time you go to post an update, you can pick which list(s) get to see it.

4. Video will get you noticed

Video simply kills it on Facebook; its algorithm just loves a video or live replay. But it's worth noting that Facebook prefers native video, so upload your clips directly rather than sharing a YouTube or Vimeo video.

If the thought of having your face on camera still fills you with dread, I have a nifty little tool to recommend. Loom is a free Chrome extension that allows you to film directly from your browser. And of course there's always Facebook Live.

5. Facebook Events helps build buzz

Use the Facebook Events tool to coordinate your business events (whether they are virtual or in person). You get a functional little hub to share all the details, you can invite people and share updates really easily.

You can generate excitement by starting discussions with your attendees, writing catchy posts to invite your fans to the event, and sharing sneak peak images or videos - on Facebook and elsewhere.

6. Take advantage of Messenger

There have been some really exciting updates in the world of Facebook Messenger recently.

In particular, Facebook bots are exploding right now. These are handy little automated sequences that can provide frequently requested information, share welcome messages, promote your content, book appointments and request (and receive) payments.

Facebook has the potential to be a real powerhouse of leads for your business - you just need to make sure you're using it right.


Ten ways to generate free publicity

Media coverage is a blessing for small businesses - as your profile goes up, so will your sales. However, marketing campaigns can be costly. Free publicity is a great way to increase the profile of your small business. While traditional print media still has clout, in a world of "viral" marketing and social media, what other options are out there? Clare Bullock investigates

  1. Focus your coverage. Choose carefully exactly what you want to cover and your target media. Whether it's the launch of a new product, a significant anniversary or a competition win, make sure it is relevant to the readership of your targeted media - be it traditional or online.
  2. Use social media for free PR. You can set up a Facebook page or a Twitter account at no cost. Social media is an excellent way to build relationships with your customers and encourage word-of-mouth publicity.
  3. Viral marketing. Whether it's a YouTube video with thousands of views, or a photo that is tweeted and retweeted, if your promotional material goes 'viral' it can give your public profile a huge boost. There is no magic formula to viral marketing - but something quirky, interesting and funny is more likely to capture people's imaginations.
  4. Write a great press release. Press releases serve two purposes - you can add them to the news section of your site, link to them from your social media accounts, and send them to journalists. Ensure you have an eye-catching headline and a strong, summarising opening paragraph before getting into the details.
  5. Get back to basics. Traditionally small firms aimed to get editorial coverage by sending press releases to newspapers or magazines in the hope that journalists would write about their new product or service. Journalists want to write about something that is newsworthy, particularly if it will appeal to their readership. If it's linked with famous people or places, controversial or amusing, you are more likely to get the coverage you want.
  6. Advertising promotions. These can be a double-edged sword - although you are guaranteed editorial coverage, paid promotions can be expensive and potential customers may skip the feature. Weigh up whether the potential results are worth the cost.
  7. Go for gold. Winning an award is a fantastic way to get publicity - not only does it recognise your talent and increase your prestige; award ceremonies are a good place to network and are usually covered by trade or local press. Many awards are free to enter. Look for one that is well respected in your industry and is likely to generate press coverage.
  8. Get philanthropic. You could get involved with a local charity to increase your standing in the community. Offer to speak at industry events or to write a column for a trade magazine or website.
  9. Dealing with bad publicity. Not all free publicity is beneficial. One negative comment can undo months of hard work. If a customer complains, contact them directly with a full apology and suggested solution. If you see negative and anonymous comments online, respond honestly in the same forum, explaining the situation from your perspective. Do not ignore negative feedback or bad publicity - it may be the first thing a prospective customer sees if they decide to search for you online.
  10. Keep it in perspective. Publicity is a great way to increase footfall but don't neglect other aspects of your business in a bid to boost your profile. If you are spending a lot of time and energy on PR without much success, sit back and work out another strategy.

Ten ways to build a brand

Branding is just as important for small businesses as it is for big names. Indeed, many corporate brands try to look more like small firms in order to appeal to consumers that prefer to support independent brands. Dan Einzig of agency Mystery explains how to develop your own brand identity

Many small business owners I talk to already understand that branding is essential to their business, but a surprisingly high number of them don't really know why.

They recognise the link between successful businesses and strong branding, and aspire to build a brand that creates similar success for themselves. And they understand that branding is not just a logo or how their business is perceived externally. But too few realise that successful brands have this branding at the heart of the business. So much so that in many ways you could almost substitute the word brand for business.

Your brand identity

Branding is a way of defining your business to yourself, your team and your external audiences. It could be called the business' 'identity', but only on the understanding that it embodies the core of what the business is and its values, not just what it looks and sounds like. Customers of all sorts of businesses are so savvy today that they can see through most attempts by companies to gloss, spin or charm their way to sales.

The benefits that a strategically defined brand can bring are the same as when people fall in love with each other.

  • When customers connect emotively - because they share the same values and beliefs as the brand - it leads to higher sales and better brand differentiation.
  • A strong brand encourages loyalty, advocacy. It can even protect your price in times when competitors rely on promotional discounts to drive sales.
  • Your brand can also give you the ideal platform from which to extend your offering or range.

Brand building steps

Here are ten tips on how to successfully implement branding for your business:

1. Start by defining your brand.

Review the product or service your business offers. Pinpoint the space in the market it occupies and research the emotive and rational needs and concerns of your customers. Your brand character should promote your business, connect with your customer base and differentiate you in the market.

2. When building your brand, think of it as a person.

Every one of us is an individual whose character is made up of beliefs, values and purposes that define who we are and who we connect with. Our personality determines how we behave in different situations, how we dress and what we say. Of course for people it's intuitive and it's rare that you even consider what your own character is. But when you're building a brand it's vital to have that understanding.

3. Consider what is driving your business.

What does it believe in, what is its purpose and who are its brand heroes. These things can help establish your emotive brand positioning and inform the identity and character for brand communications.

4. Aim to build long-term relationships with your customers.

Don't dress up your offering and raise expectations that result in broken promises, create trust with honest branding - be clear who your company is and be true to the values that drive it every day.

5. Speak to your customers with a consistent tone of voice.

It will help reinforce the business' character and clarify its offering so customers are aware exactly what to expect from the product or service.

6. Don't repeat the same message in the same way over and over again.

Instead, aim to make your key messages work together to build a coherent identity.

7. Don't try to mimic the look of chains or big brands.

Try and carve out your own distinctive identity. There is a big consumer trend towards independent establishments, and several chains are in fact trying to mimic an independent feel to capture some of that market. Truly independent operators can leverage their status to attract customers who are looking for something more original and authentic, that aligns with how they feel about themselves.

8. Be innovative, bold and daring - stand for something you believe in.

Big brands are encumbered by large layers of bureaucracy, preventing them from being flexible and reacting to the ever-changing needs of their customers. Those layers of decision-makers can make it hard for them to be daring with their branding.

9. Always consider your branding when communicating with customers.

Don't lose your pride or dilute your brand positioning with indiscriminate discounting. Try offering more, rather than slashing prices. Promotions are an opportunity to reinforce your brand mission.

10. The old way of stamping your logo on everything won't cut it.

The future of branding is fluid and engaging - respect your customers' intelligence by not giving everything away up front. Generate some intrigue and allow them to unearth more about your brand for themselves. This is the way to foster ambassadors who revel in telling other people what they have discovered.


Best apps for remote working

Online tools and mobile apps make it easier than ever to communicate, collaborate and manage complex projects away from the office. The government is currently urging all businesses to allow staff to work from home because of the Coronavirus pandemic, so we’ve chosen the top apps and online platforms for remote working

Communication apps

Staying in touch is crucial while working at home. It also plays a vital role in ensuring staff feel part of a team, reducing the feelings of isolation that could develop while working remotely for long periods.

Slack (free)

Reduce email with this popular online communication tool. You can create channels for conversations, focusing on specific topics or projects. It can integrate with existing cloud programmes, like GDrive, DropBox and Asana to securely share documents.

WhatsApp (free)

Owned by Facebook and beloved by teenagers, WhatsApp offers high-levels of encryption which makes it a secure platform for business communication. It’s less sophisticated than Slack but perfect for group chats on work (and leisure).

Microsoft Teams (free)

Microsoft Teams allows your team to chat, meet, call and collaborate in one place. You can also hold conference calls or video calls with external guests.

An upgraded version of Microsoft Teams is also available as part of Microsoft 365.

Flock

Flock is a sophisticated communication tool that includes some innovative tools to improve workflow and collaboration. As well as text chats, video conferences and voice calls, you can create To-do lists, write notes and collaborate on documents.

Zoom (free)

This popular video conferencing platform enables users to share content like presentations and documents while on calls. As well as voice and video, you can use text chat at the same time to collaborate. It works on desktop, laptop, tablet and phone.

Project Management Apps

As a business owner, you need to focus on the completion of projects, ensuring that every person plays their part. Online project management tools can help ensure that everyone is pulling in the right direction, giving you a complete view of a project.

monday.com (paid for)

A simple, visual project management tool that lets you quickly and easily see what everyone in your team is working on. You can use it to manage to-do lists, tasks and projects across your business.

Trello (paid for)

Trello aims to make project management fun and flexible, by organising projects into the boards, lists and cards. It’s a simple and intuitive system that offers a great deal of control and visibility for business owners.

Jira Project Management

If you need a more comprehensive and traditional project management solution, Jira is a workflow-based system that allows you to visualise your project – from creation to delivery. It’s backed up by some serious processing power, with customisable dashboards and performance management metrics.

Toggl

Keep track of the time spent – and resource invested – in your projects. Toggl can be synced across devices, giving you a breakdown of time spent on projects and for customers. It’s particularly useful at crunching the numbers on complex projects, giving you a realistic time estimate for budgeting or billing.

Asana

A task-based project management system, Asana is excellent for managing workflow and projects across teams of all sizes. Create teams, assign projects and manage deadlines from the desktop version or app.

File Sharing Applications

It’s essential that staff have access to the files they need to complete their work, but they must be safe and secure while doing so.

Google Drive

It’s simple to store, share and access files with Google Drive. However, you will need a business subscription to work with Microsoft Office documents. Available with 2-step verification and detailed document controls, it’s a robust system for small businesses.

DropBox

A simple drag and drop storage system, DropBox allows you to store all types of document, synchronising across devices when there’s a network connection. As well as storage, DropBox business has expanded its services, offering a smarter workspace for communication and collaboration.

Zapier

This nifty tool enables you to seamlessly transfer information, zapping data between common platforms like Gmail, DropBox and Slack. It allows you to create workflows, intelligently sharing files immediately with the staff that need them.

Creative Collaboration Apps

Working remotely shouldn’t inhibit inspiration. Creative collaboration across networks is entirely possible, as these tools demonstrate.

Google Jamboard

Essentially an interactive whiteboard, Jamboard lets you sketch your ideas virtually, with any user able to get involved. You can drag and drop images from the web, add notes or use the pens to create your drawings – whatever you need to get the creative juices flowing.

G Suite

Google Doc and Google Sheets are the big hitters in the G Suite family. They can be used to create and collaborate on text documents and spreadsheets, with various users able to log in to provide real-time document changes and edits.

Canva

What started as a simple online DTP tool is now a powerful platform for creative design and communication. Multiple users can edit documents, with a suite of pre-built templates making elegant design simple.

Xtensio

If you need to create sales presentations or proposals, Xtensio allows you to collaborate with your sales team to create appealing and effective one-pagers and landing pages. This user-friendly platform can help you create compelling sales documents with minimal effort.


Domains, and why you need em!

Welcome to WordPress. This is your first post. Edit or delete it, then start writing!


The effects of a badly managed social presence

We are firm believers and indeed promotors of using social media to speak to not only your existing customer base, but a whole new spectrum of customers.

The issue with many businesses is that they often spread resource too thin, and expect the role of 'social media' to be picked up often by the MD, or the 'accounts person'.

Social Media is a minefield, when navigated carefully you get to the other side where awaiting your arrival is a big sweet sticky Chelsea bun. But take a step in the wrong direction and ka'boom! Up goes your reputation and indeed lost custom.

Simple rules of social media

Always on service

Social media doesn't sleep, nor does it turn off at 5PM like many of us wish it would... in fact, the most active time on social media is in fact the evenings and the non-sleeping generation of millennials.

If someone does message you at 2AM, we're not suggesting you answer the query immediately, but why not set auto-responders on both social channels and emails out of hours to set expectations? And if you do share the social media administration tasks between the team, use a general auto-responder to tell the customer 'someone' will respond to their query within a working day.

Honestly, if you can't answer someone in a working day, you should avoid being on social media, in fact, you should really look at resources and plan to expand your workforce!

Posting great and current content

Well, social media is a two way street... you have to keep those followers engaged, or they'll simply grow stale and get bored!

Your social media pages are almost like an old fashioned newsletter or magazine, if the content is cr*p, people won't buy it, and in turn won't see the ads, or the cross promotion, and eventually will no longer be customers.

Taking a deep breath

Yes, it's a blood bath. We used to be involved with a telecommunications company's social media page, and boy, people don't hold back.

Put on your thick skin, grit your teeth, and don't steep to the levels of your worst nightmare customers. They're shouting at the company and their experience, not you :).

Resolve offline

When things turn nasty, it's best to take them offline if you can't resolve them without having an argument. Send the customer a private message and see what middle ground you can find. Avoid the damage publicly 'damage limitation' a wonderful thing.

Shout for help

Not publicly of course. But give us a shout, we'll always be here for no quibble advice and like your customers, we don't follow normal business hours. Drop us an email social@vmc.im and we'll be sure to advise.


Birthday Marketing - We love it!

It's rare that you see a combination of big data and nerdy numbers mixed with personality but we think we've found a great example...

Alex's Birthday is on 25th March (presents welcome hint hint) and he receives emails throughout March with personalised offers and invitations/deals that have all been personally 'written' or so the end user may think.

Customers in 2017 are looking for ways to feel wanted by brands, and by taking a simple Date of Birth from a customer, you can really personalise your service to them. Offer them 10% off on their birthday? Perhaps a free cookie when they purchase a coffee or drink?

So far we've received...

A Birthday Card from Jo Malone.

A free cookie from Subway.

Free meal from Harry Ramsden's

Complimentary main course from The Alchemist

Buy One Get One Free Hard Rock Cafe meals

Birthdays Rock!

If you want to excel your business, surprise your customers, and just be awesome every day... (think about how many customers you have, you'd be surprising people every day!) all that the cost of an automated email/process! get in touch today!