Volunteering at the Stone Food Festival

By Grace Hurst L6 Events Management student

As the first weekend of October approaches, it’s not just the locals who anticipate The Stone Food and Drink Festival every year. After going virtual in 2020, with no live events taking place at all, it was a pleasure to volunteer at this year’s 2021 festival. Volunteering opportunities have been sparse over the last 18 months and many small businesses have taken a huge hit, meaning many events need all the help they can get, so I’m here to talk about my experience and how to get involved as an event volunteer yourself!

Stone Food and Drink Festival is located at Westbridge park in Stone and has been running since 2004. It’s a not-for-profit community event that supports local businesses, giving them a platform to showcase what they do and providing a fun filled event celebrating all things food and drink. The festival has a wide range of options to suit anyone, from local craft beers and liqueurs to street food and desserts in the Gourmet Marquee (which can all be enjoyed alongside volunteering!).

Grace (centre) in the Chefs demonstration tent
Grace (centre) in the Chefs demonstration tent

I represented Staffordshire University as an event marshal and as a third-year events management student. I spent the majority of the day networking with local businesses in and around Stone or helping out at the Demonstration Kitchen and the Talks and Tastings tent. This included encouraging guests to join the live events in each tent, handing out samples and being a friendly face for attendees to approach and ask general questions to.

The vendors and organisers were grateful to have a helping hand on the day and it was a lot of fun being able to watch demonstrations from business owners and to gain an insight to what an event looks like behind the scenes.

Tent
There is a huge amount of cover at the festival which means even with rain people can have a great time
Flamin’ Rooster is just one of many great food stalls at the event

Small Business Spotlight

  • Joules –Joules Brewery are the main sponsor for the festival, who have recently opened a new venue called The Crown Wharf which opened in July 2021 and is located on Crown Street in Stone. The taphouse has become extremely popular with locals due to the friendly staff, lively atmosphere and of course, great beer! The new project also aims to bring a community theatre to the establishment calledThe Crown Wharf Theatre as there is currently no purpose-built event space in Stone where local arts and community groups can join to enhance their creativity and passions. They are looking for volunteers here.
  • Ten Green Bottles – Ten Green Bottles is a gin and craft beer bar who currently have two venues in Newcastle-Under-Lyme and Stone. The business attended the festival to talk the latest drink trends alongside Stafford Distillery, sharing their knowledge of quality cocktails and recommending the best ingredients. As well as handing out samples of their cocktail containing lychee gin infused with passionfruit liqueur and tonic (yum!), they also had a pop-up bar and a stall to purchase their products from. To check out all things cocktail, visit their websites linked.
Gin bar
Gin bar

Community events such as this one are so rewarding to volunteer at, as well as being a lot of fun to be a part of, particularly for students interested in areas such as events management like myself. At the event I gained valuable experience to put into practice at future events I either volunteer at or host myself and am looking forward to the next project! If you’re interested in becoming a volunteer for next year or just want to attend yourself as a guest, visit Stone Food and Drink Festival’s website

If you’re a student at Staffordshire University looking for volunteer opportunities ask your tutors and try the Careers service

Get in touch with Grace through her linkedin profile

Beth’s guide to Stoke and Staffordshire

By Beth Bairstow-Morris

Staffordshire University is my home university, and, in September, I’ll be heading into my third and final year of BA (Hons) Events Management. Having lived in Staffordshire for almost all my life, I’ve tried and tested the best places for students to eat, drink and visit, and I’m here to tell you all about them!

Let’s start with some on-campus student union run facilities and the two favourite hangouts for my uni friends and I: Ember Lounge and Squeeze Box. Ember Lounge serves classic pub food and drinks and is the perfect place to spend a break from studying or grab some food with friends after a day of lectures. Squeeze Box is my favourite place to head for a bite to eat in the morning, along with either a takeout coffee or one of their infamous freshly squeezed orange juices or smoothies!

Lots of individual shops as well as events and gardens to see at Trentham Gardens
Lots of individual shops as well as events and gardens to see at Trentham Gardens

Moving on, we have the lovely Trentham Estate, an important local attraction to mention for many reasons. Firstly, their Event Volunteer programme, if nobody has told you already, it won’t be long before your lecturers and industry pros are emphasising the importance of volunteering to gain experience ready for your placement and graduate job applications, whatever course you’re taking. Trentham have a fantastic volunteer programme and last year I successfully applied and have worked on several events including the Christmas Fairy Lights experience, the summer concerts and market research for Trentham Live 2022!

With so many events, restaurants and attractions on offer, Trentham Estate is a great place to head for a day or evening out with friends and a fantastic place to catch up with family when they come to visit. Who wouldn’t love a trip to the Monkey Forest to get away from assignments for a while!? There’s even a Premier Inn on site you can recommend to your parents so they don’t have to crash in your flat!

A few weeks back, I headed to The Crepe & Waffle House in the Shopping Village for a catchup with my Aunty, which certainly suited both our sweet tastes!

Staffordshire and Stoke-on-Trent are filled with arts and culture, so what better place to take you to next than the Cultural Quarter in Hanley? Piccadilly and the surrounding area are home to a variety of entertainment venues including The Regent Theatre, showcasing phenomenal touring productions, and The Sugarmill, a great place to head to for local music and small gigs, as well as some great restaurants and cafes like The Slamwich Club and The Quarter.

Most recently, I visited The Quarter for lunch with my friend. Their menu is split into a Daytime Menu and an Evening Menu and the range of options is HUGE, with traditional classics, all-day breakfast and brunch and even Mediterranean style platters! I ordered the egg and salmon sourdough from the all-day brunch menu and my friend had the battered cod with chunky chips from the selection of main dishes. (My friend said she was still dreaming of the battered cod days later!)

Just a little further along in the Cultural Quarter, you’ll find the Mitchell Arts Centre, a small local theatre with a Café-Bar and even a dance studio and meeting rooms to hire. As someone who’s heavily involved in the local amateur theatre scene, I’ve spent a LOT of time here: watching performances, taking part in performances and volunteering (yes, more volunteering!) as Marketing & Events Officer for Stoke Amateur Theatre Society.

Last but not least, it would be incredibly remiss of me to not mention the UK’s largest theme park, the Alton Towers Resort. Of course, this is a GREAT place to have right on your doorstep, whether that’s for a thrilliant day out with friends or for some fantastical escapism with the family when they visit. You can find some great student offers on admission here!

It’s also a great place to work as student, with plenty of seasonal opportunities on offer, particularly if you are studying Events Management or Visitor Attraction & Resort Management. I currently work as a Team Leader on the Guest Excellence Team and have gained invaluable experience and loved every minute of working at the Resort!

For Events in Autumn 2021 have a look at Jon Fairburn’s blog by clicking here


University wide clearing – 0800 590 830

Courses available in clearing at the Business School

Call our friendly team of Clearing experts on 0800 590 830 who are on hand to support you through the process, or sign up to one of our free events: www.staffs.ac.uk/clearing

The ‘Fantabulous’ Francis Jackson

Deon Wong, Visitor Attraction and Resort Management Student


On Wednesday 24th March 2021, Year 1 & 2 Fda Visitor Attraction and Resort Management Students (VARM) attended a virtual Q&A with extra special guest Francis Jackson (Alton Towers Resorts Operations Director). The meeting enabled students to ask Francis on all things Alton Towers, specifically his journey, COVID impacts, new role and advice on how to be successful within the industry. I (Deon Wong), one of the VARM students, was given the opportunity to become the master of ceremonies and lead the Q&A.

Francis Jackson began the Q&A by giving us a brief background history into his experience, from working at Australia’s Falls Creek Ski Lifts as the Director of Snowsports to being the beloved Operations Director at Alton Towers. He has a solid belief in transferring his knowledge gained and sharing them with his team to make them bigger and better. Francis expressed his huge heart towards Alton Towers and how he enjoys the customer focus moments, where he has built relationships to improve the customer journey. He regrets not having time to be out there with the customers and staff due to his administrative role.

Moving into the 2021 season, ATR aims to deliver a ‘thrilliant’ season of celebrations and fun. With an increase in footfall, new safety regulations are introduced to adhere to the safety guidelines. Francis mentioned various new additions to accompany guests’ safety and capacity, from utilising the lawn space, new ride openings, temporary flat rides, and monorail adjustments. Maintaining a ‘fantabulous’ presentation and customer journey is a massive priority for Francis. From ensuring cigarettes and chewing gum are picked up to repainting areas. Francis states it’s all about the “pursuit of guest excellence for the guest journey “- (Francis Jackson, 2021).

Francis Jackson discussed his new role as general manager. With over 30 years of experience in the leisure industry, he’s driven to make the customer journey and experience better. He understands change is always good, as businesses can’t stay static. They have to adapt, change and constantly move forwards to progress. He’s a firm believer in achieving an outstanding organisation by refocusing on corporate social responsibility, diversity and inclusion. Within his new role as general manager, he’s accountable for all things COVID related, capacity and having the final say in difficult decisions.

Lastly, Francis Jackson passed on specific advice on how to be successful within the leisure industry. From knowing your product, listening to guest feedback and continuously pushing the product your offering to entice guests. One advice he advises is for people to be authentic and be true to themselves; once you divert and create a fake facade, issues will arise. It’s important to feel confident and ensure you have questions to ask, as It’s constantly a lesson of growth and development.

#ProudtToBeStaffs
#VARM
#LifelongLearning
#SeekingOpportunities
#FantabulousFrancisJackson
#Inspirational
#StayVARM
#VARMtastic

My Journey

Simon Hughes, BA (Hons) Business Management student


The journey began back in 2017, I decided to start studying the business management degree at Staffordshire University. I knew that this journey was going to include unexpected learning strategies and unknown situations. One of the main challenges was when I got the diagnosis of having dyslexia, I knew that there was something not right regarding my reading, writing and spelling. With having dyslexia, I knew that I would need extra support. The university study skills had helped by supporting me in how I needed to process the information and to give me a better understanding of how I retained the information. When I came to start my first assignment, I felt like this was a setback as I was unsure of if I had completed it correctly. When the results came out, I saw that I had passed, and it reassured me that I could pass my first year. I feel like I was able to do this as I had the support of my university lecturers Hazel Squire and Vicky Roberts, as well as my friends and my family. There were many times within that year where I was very close to giving up, this was due to how challenging I was finding it to believe in myself. However, after I had spoken to the lecturers and my family about how I was feeling, they gave me the support and said that I can do this, this gave me the boost to keep moving forward which resulted in completing the first year without having to resit any of the module subjects, this gave me a great relief.

Going in to the second year, I was feeling very anxious and apprehensive as I did not know if the year was going to be too much for me and if I was going to be able to meet the deadlines on time. The subjects were different from the ones I took in my first year in both semester one and semester two, however I was able to meet the deadlines on time. During the end of semester two I was diagnosed with a condition called PPPD (Persistent Postural-Perceptual Dizziness), this made it more difficult to focus on my assignment as I was not able to look at a computer screen for days on end due to it giving me migraines and dizziness. This condition made me feel like I could not get my assignments in on time which resulted in me nearly giving up. However, as the year progressed, I managed to hand in my assignments even though I do not know how. I had a push of support from my wife and my supportive lecturers Paul Dobson and Bharati Singh, just to name a few. They told me that I had come too far to give up now, this took place just before I had received my results for the second semester of the second year however I found out my hard work had paid off and that I had passed.

When going into my third and final year, the first semester was a challenge due to my migraines and not being able to concentrate for a long period of time, however I still had the support of all the lecturers. During the second semester, the world was hit with Covid 19, this meant that everyone had to engage in social distance learning which made it more difficult for me as I was not able to spend a lot of time looking at the computer screen. This situation was difficult as the rest of the year was uncertain, I did not know whether I would be able to make it to the end of my final year. Even though I was not able to see my lecturers face to face I was able to have a video meeting with them if I needed their support on the lectures or the assignments. They encouraged me to get through my assignments and to get them handed in so that I could fully complete the last year of my three-year degree.


Click here for more information on Dyslexia and how we can support you at Staffordshire University

How social media helps small businesses to grow

Lucy Harvey, BA (hons) Marketing Management student


Are you struggling to get your small business a strong following on social media platforms?

Small businesses are often mistaken for believing that social media marketing doesn’t need to be implemented for their company as they already have a loyal, communal following that are aware of who and what they stand for. However, this mindset is limiting the possible audience in and around the local area who aren’t aware of your business, but require your services, which your competitors could easily steal just by being on social media.

A successful social media campaign will include the following steps, in order to see a growth in traffic and overall sales:

  1. Create a marketing strategy plan and a set of smart objectives
  2. Research your audience, current trends and market place
  3. Post engaging content to social media platforms, such as Facebook, Instagram and Twitter, such as competitions, stories, images, videos and polls
  4. Create a relevant hashtag for your audience to share with their friends and family to establish brand identity
  5. Introduce a reward system – this incentive offers rewards to customers after each visit to eventually receive a free product/service will show an increase of returning and loyal customers. An example of this is Starbucks, offering their audience stars to collect to redeem a free drink.
  6. Engage with your audience regularly to build a strong relationship

Using Google Analytics; your small business can then measure what parts of their social media advertising is working and where they are generating traffic from. This could be an opportunity to be more specific in your advertising, and if it is generating interest from people not in the area, you could consider expanding your business globally if there’s a desire for your product/services elsewhere. Expanding your business will therefore increase revenue which you can then be implemented back into your social media campaigns, to continue to grow your brands reputation positively.

Ultimate Google Ads Guide for SME’s: 3 steps to increase return on Ads spend

Eerik Beeton, MSc Digital Marketing Management student


Return on Advertising Spend
Increase return on Ads spend with these 3 steps!

There are a few reasons why your Google Ads might not work as well for your business as it seems to work for your competitors. Make sure you follow these three steps and you’re guaranteed to be more productive with your Google Ads.

Many businesses have struggled to make most out of their digital marketing efforts and have employed strategies where they use an external marketing agency to handle paid digital marketing. I’m here to suggest that outsourcing Pay Per Click and Cost Per Mille (PPC/CPM) is not sensible anymore in the 2020’s. Why would you pay someone else to do what you can do yourself?

To prove this to you, the next three steps in this blog will bring to your attention some issues around outsourcing your Google Ads and how to do it yourself to both save money and increase the effectiveness of your paid ads!

1. Exploit automation, lose that agency and save up to half of the cost

Historically, making your ads has been time-consuming and has required a lot of technical input from marketers to stay in top of the game. Year 2019 was the year of automation, this also changed how PPC works. Now your PPC can be automated with budget diversification and smart audience targeting, making the use of an agency inferior. I’m listing more handy tools throughout this blog so keep reading!

If you buy click-based advertising services (Google Ads, Facebook, Instagram, Twitter), a service provider will usually charge a 10-20% of the ad spend and a minimum monthly fee for their work. If your competitor advertises their services in-house for £300 per month and you outsource this service, then your advertising spend on Google AdWords is £150-200. This gives your competitor 30-50% higher advertising budget and an advantage.

As the average return on advertising pounds spend on google is 1 pound spent, 2 earned, you’re most likely giving your profits away using  a marketing agency.

2. Optimise and save up to 69% on your Ads

Understanding you Ad quality score can help you to create better campaigns and improve your digital marketing as a whole.

Poorly optimised Google Ads are a costly mistake, not only are they more expensive but they won’t get your business the leads they are after.  Once you get your Ads optimised, your Ad spend can be decreased by 69%.

Maybe the most important part of your Google Ads optimisation is that they need to be eligible for Google auctions. This means that your ads need to focus on a few strange terms like Quality Score, Maximum Bid and Ad rank. Ad rank is influenced by the maximum cost-per-click (CPC) you choose for your ad and your ad’s Quality Score. In the following, I will explain how you can create the best quality score for your ads.

To improve the quality score of your ads, focus on the following 4 strategies

  • Use keyword planning to increase relevance of your adds by making ad groups based on keywords
  • Optimise your ads for higher Click-through-Rate (CTR) by using focus keywords and Google Ads extensions, like call to actions and contact options.
  • Improve the quality of your landing page. This can be achieved by (re)targeting your ad and landing pages using long-tailed keywords or by using Dynamic advertising.
  • Be patient! Google’s algorithms will take more than a few days to improve the quality score of your Ads and being patient is the key to measure the improvements.

If reading pages of descriptions is not for you, I’ve also included a 4-minute video clip on the strategies for your convenience.

3. Set tracking and retarget customers to get 3x more leads

Retargeting Ads are 76% more likely to be clicked on than regular Display Ads. Therefore, building accurate conversion tracking is important for improving the results of your advertising. This is important as it will show how the customer actually behaved on the site.

Often, micro-conversions, such as referral browsing, shopping cart additions,, are ignored in tracking. However, they are essential metrics that tell about the quality of traffic and enable accurate re-marketing to visitors who completed a specific activity. This can also be used to track the performance of your paid advertising and to make changes accordingly. See the short video below on how to set you tracking!

The importance of setting conversion actions to help your customer tracking is essential; if you’re not sure how to do this here’s a link to a Google Ads article that explains it step by step.

Lastly, understanding the whole customer journey and to assess all the steps is important. By setting tracking and using retargeting can feed into 3 times more leads for your campaigns.

Future-proof your Google Ads revenue

Google has focused heavily on machine learning and keeps finessing the technology in order to deliver helpful and frictionless customer experience. There have been some setbacks in the technology and most of the features are not fully functioning for the SME’s, but this said: – The year 2020 will be the year to look out for improvements in:

Next big things in the early 2020’s

Google has focused heavily on machine learning and keeps finessing the technology in order to deliver helpful and frictionless customer experience. There has been some setbacks in the technology and most of the features are not fully functioning for the SME’s but this said: – The year 2020 will be the year to look out for improvements in:

Digital Marketing Tools That Will Help You Understand Customer’s Journey

 Adjaou Mohamed Adesola, MSc Digital Marketing Management


As technology evolves, the digital marketing bar is being raised higher for more transcendent usability and intuitive user interaction. For such, accuracy, speed and ease are the punch that will keep your clients loyal for the long haul. According to Gartner, consumer experience is the practice of designing for and reacting to their interactions to meet and exceed their expectations in order to increase consumer satisfaction, advocacy, and loyalty.

Highlighted below are some of the digital marketing tools that will give you competitive advantage.


Website Analytics tools

User-centered design is the first checkpoint you put your customers through. According to Brilliance, 75% of stores losses sales due to cart abandonment. So, how do you avoid cart abandonment? By having an intuitive navigation. Website navigation is like a table of content. The navigation should be organized, easy and grouped. Having complex and lengthy navigation creates confusion with your end users. For instance,

Imagine being at a new airport with 3 terminals and 6 floors and several concourses, you need to reach terminal 4A in under 10 minutes. How will you reach the gate without proper sign boards? A website without proper navigation is like an airport without proper signs. Your users will get frustrated and take off, hence leading to high bounce rate. How can you solve this issue? Create a website with a uniform design style, color scheme, and typography. Besides, include navigation tools within your website.

UX design involves creating something that users love, while analytics help designers/businesses understand what the elusive thing is. Analytics provides businesses with a measurable benchmark. There are four types of analytics.

  • Predictive analytics: Used to test scenarios and make suggestions.
  • Prescriptive analytics: Check on new trends and determine the optimal patterns.
  • Diagnostic analytics: Tracks and reveal trends over time.
  • Descriptive analytics: Indicates how many and how often.

Today, web analytics tools can perform all the above. If combined with research, measurement, and analysis, then business can create and maintain businesses that meet clients’ needs. You can achieve this using the following tools.

  1. Kissmetrics

Kissmetrics offers analytics that helps businesses increase their conversion rates and track visitors. Besides, it helps to identifying barriers to conversions. Thanks to the use of Engage feature. Engage uses behavior based data to display notifications to site visitors. Using Kissmetrics, marketers can specifically set the following behavior based actions: Lightbox, dynamic content modal, announcements, bumpers, and notifications. Marketers can design triggers that prompt these actions for instances, when a customer is idle for a certain period on the website, he/she is prompted to take some action like signup for newsletter or display related products that they may be interested in. This helps reduce bounce rate, and thus leading to high ranking. The tool is pricy and not affordable to SMEs, besides being a good tool.

Image Source: CMS Wire


Social Media Digital Marketing Tools

According to the Wall Street Journal, an average American spends 37 minutes daily on social media. Thus, every business should leverage on their marketing using the following platforms.

 

  • Twitter Native Platform

Currently, twitter has 326 million users. Do you want to get more out of Twitter and aren’t sure where to start? Creating an engaging and impactful strategy can make the difference. Firstly, you need to find your own voice. As a business, establish a well-defined brand strategy by creating fresh and original content that reflect your core business values. Besides, try and resonate with your audience in a positive way.

Planning and organization are key to great marketing. One of the best ways to get much out of Twitter is to join chats. There are chats for almost every topic. The key success to twitter chats is to be an active participant by following people, replying to their messages and keeping the relationship going even after the chat has ended. If there is no chat that relates to your brand, consider starting your own.

Although planning ahead is always great, the best tweets are created on the go. Ensure you capitalize on the trending topic and world events. However, as a caution, never use a tragedy as a branding opportunity. As a rule of thumb, don’t use one-sided marketing. Your Twitter marketing strategy should be a mix of organic tweets @replies, and Twitter Ads. Nonetheless, maintaining a Twitter account requires certain level of commitment and training. Besides, you must be weary of parody accounts, which can negatively affect your business. In 2019, businesses should watch the status updates to encourage conversation between its users.

 

  • Facebook Power Editor

 

Specifically designed to run hyper-specific advertising campaigns. The tool often issues new targeting and budget-friendly features for all users. In order to get more out of Facebook Power Editor, you must understand Ad basics. Use of catchy headlines, engaging images and strong Call to Action dictates how well your ad will perform.

Image Source: Neil Patel

The catchy headline, and strong call to action makes the above ad more appealing to the target audience. Currently, Facebook Power Editor is only available on Google Chrome, thus, users of other browsers are not privy to using this powerful tool. Currently, Facebook is testing CTAs to be used on stories create on pages. This something to watch in 2019.


Conclusion

Customer experience requires a health check. One of the ingredients to this challenging task is knowing the ins and outs of your customers’ behaviour. In digital marketing, communicating with your consumers and anticipating their needs and problems even before they arise is what you need. Getting the right tool to address customer experience is what will give you a competitive advantage since the war will not be won on product features or price page.

 

Twitter: @AdjaouMohamed 

LinkedIn: https://t.co/rAg1jZKEzi

 

How to Speed up your WordPress Website

Xinyu Zhang, MSc Digital Marketing Management student


Plugins can often help us implement some specific functions so that people who don’t understand the code can also add features to the website, thus avoiding re-development. WordPress, as a mainstream content management system with many themes and plugins, makes its extensibility to the fullest extent. Currently, many famous blogs, news media, music sites, Fortune 500 companies and celebrities are using WordPress, such as favourite blogs like TechCrunch and BBC America on WordPress. How do you get the best performance out of your WordPress and let it fully demonstrate the benefits of your content in modern web pages centring on speed, search engine optimisation and user experience? This blog will introduce some new plugins.

Ready to work

After we use WordPress to build a website, as the website develops more and more visits, we often encounter unsatisfactory opening speeds in the foreground and background, and even exhaustion of memory. Aside from the speed of the network, there is still a way to improve performance from the WordPress. Since WordPress only allocates 64M of memory by default, we have to modify this default parameter; otherwise, it is easy to cause an error: “fatal error, allowed memory size of xxxxx bytes exhausted”.
First, you need to open the WordPress WP including a directory to find the file of default-constants.php.

The first is to increase the memory limit for running WordPress and the second chart is to raise the memory limit obtained by the background supporter. This grade is more appropriate for modern server’s hosting services.
It is modified and saved.
Restart the server to see the effect.

Add AMP functionality to WordPress

Recent changes with Google search techniques will make Accelerated Mobile Pages (AMP) increasingly important (Dopson, 2018). AMP is Google’s Accelerated Mobile Pages.

As the name suggests, it is to speed up the loading of the mobile web to enhance the experience.

From the official statistics, the webpage average speed has increased by 4 times after use it. At the same time, it is Google’s AMP Project advocating a solution for speeding up mobile networks. WordPress provides full support for AMP pages. You only need to download two plugins and enable them to add an AMP version to your WordPress website.

Even if it is a free version, you can get quite a bit of structured content, including site names, individual text tag translations, logos, GTM, GA, structured data, etc.

You can also add a cache for WordPress

Having a slow-loading site is a serious problem because it can be catastrophic to your bounce rate. As is well known, if websites are not loaded quickly and reliably, they are more likely to leave the site. 47% of Internet users want to load in the site within 2 seconds. It is worth mentioning that a delay of one second can lead to a 7% reduction in conversions.

WordPress occupies a massive amount of CPU resources. Generating a normal page often involves dozens of SQL queries and second-level runtimes. Hence, dynamic page statics for WordPress is the best choice for optimising performance.

This is Autoptimize critical. Such a plugin not only combines various scattered JavaScript and CSS in the page but also optimises the order of loading locations, which can significantly reduce the number of HTTP requests and the problem of repeatedly rendering pages. Meanwhile, this plugin will generate some custom JS and CSS files.

Optimise WordPress images

Website image optimisation has always been a significant content. Compressing images can not only make the website faster but also improve SEO optimisation. Therefore, I recommend a WordPress image optimisation for the friends of WordPress website. Plugin ShortPixel is a full-featured image optimisation plug-in based on image compression, which provides a very comprehensive image optimisation option, including:

  • Image Compression
  • Picture cropping
  • Picture adjustment
  • Image backup recovery
  • PDF compression

All the work can be handed over to ShortPixel, and it will do the job for you in the background supporter.

Automatically add related articles

To help a website improve its Google ranking, “visitor stay” can be extended by highlighting additional topics the readers might be interested in (Dobson, 2018).

The addition of related articles has allowed some users to stay longer on the website. Some topics cannot be clearly explained in an article, and readers are able to understand it through related articles better. I recommend Related Posts for WordPress. This plugin works best, which can go to the other articles cited and then recommend according to the label and classification.

According to the reports, the number of Internet users using search engines has steadily increased, so that search engine optimisation becomes more important than ever. Yoast is known as the best SEO plugin because of its various powerful features: Internal link suggestion, Redirect manager Keyword report, XML site map, content and page analysis tools. As a simple and easy-to-use SEO plugin, Yoast SEO can provide webpage snapshots for search engine optimisation, evaluation of page readability, content length, alt attributes, keyword, title tags, meta descriptions, outbound links and URLs, etc. Furthermore, the basic optimisation elements can be easily done with Yoast SEO.

The Yoast plugin, like an advanced version of the plugin, offers a freemium model. However, most users still prefer to use the free version. There are a lot of advertisements and sales information on the free version. Although it does not affect the use, seeing it for a long time is still annoying. I will provide a plug-in for advertising to use or hide the back-end advertising content of SEO Bloat hidden Yoast free SEO plugin.

 

LinkedIn: Zhang Xinyu 

5 top tips to be successful on social media

Andrew Rizvi, MSc Digital Marketing Management Student


Planning

When mapping out a plan for social media it is always best to start with the goals you want to achieve for business standpoint and how you plan to implement them.

Using SMART for goal setting can be a successful foundation for social media marketing if followed correctly:

  • Goals must nail down exactly what is expected of the initiative. Also simply being just more active on social media is one of the quickest ways to burn valuable time unnecessary. That’s why it’s crucial to ask ‘why’ your business is on social media.
  • Measurable – Being able to definitively answer “yes, we hit the goal” or “we missed the goal by 20%” is a good goal standard. Key Metrics, Goals or OKRs that you would like to accomplish broken down into days, weeks, months, and the year.
  • Attainable – Out of reach goals are demoralizing and frustrating. Having to stretch to hit a goal is productive, but don’t go overboard with expectations.
  • Relevant – A social media-marketing goal needs to tie in to marketing’s overall goal. Is it to build an audience? Increase website traffic? Strengthen branding?
  • Timely – Dates and times keep companies accountable to their goals. Staying on track may at times be impossible, so be able to acclimatise to change is also important

Engaging with customers rather than just promoting

Social media is becoming more and more like a customer service platform. A tricky part of this is that the better you get the more difficult engagement becomes. The other side of this is that customers are more often than not the best source of inspiration, as they will often be asking the questions ‘why’ don’t you do this. Useful tools to find out what’s working on social media are Twitter List, Google Keyword Planner and Facebook Pages to Watch or even simply creating a community site. This allows a company to then evaluate and remarket itself in the future by using metrics from former campaigns.

Engaging with your target audience by using free or low-cost brands, such as Buffer Reply or TweetDeck. This allows for a more interactive service that can help with providing insight to customers as well as the business. For example, everyone person on Twitter has 100 friends that follow them, and those 100 friends have 100 friends that follow them. Even if only 5% of the total friends share the content, that’s still a massive number of shares and impressions. Crafting content unique to each platform is critical and is why planning is so important to keep a constant stream of customer engagement for marketing purposes.

Boost organic content to a targeted audience

Unless you would have a big team overseeing your social media with the ability to invest a lot of time, you can end up wasting a lot of money on paid advertising. Organic social media posting is the perfect testing ground for paid ads and boosted posts. In other words, you’re using organic reach to determine what posts you should put money behind and use this as an opportunity in disguise. And therefore, being able to use A/B testing can help use company resources wisely regardless of the size of it.

That opportunity is paid social media advertising. Even if you only have £5 to spend on boosting a Facebook post or promoting a Tweet, it will effectively get that content in front of hundreds of potential customers. That is why looking out for posts with high engagement but low reach as a good barometer for potential success and is something that should be checked regularly by using analytics, to ensure that the content will be maximising its possible target audience.

Using a combination of Facebook Audience Insights and Twitter Audience Insights to learn about your audience and create personas. Once you have an idea of who they are, use those insights to create highly targeted ads that will resonate with users.


Measuring Your Results

A clear and fundamental part of this is holding up the results against the goals you set at the beginning to compare. This gives a clear indication as to what is working and what is not. The main providers of gaining this information can be found using tools such as Sprout Social, Google Analytics, Iconosquare and Snaplytics to make sure that resources are being spent wisely and how they can be better placed elsewhere if not.

  • Followers. Total up the number of new followers each social media platform received, and compare this number to the goal set. This can be achieved using analytics tools such as Sprout Social to measure the success.
  • Likes/shares/comments. Measure the amount of engagement the audience has with the posts. Note which type of content gets the biggest responses for future strategies.
  • Leads. Ultimately, successful social media marketing increases the number of qualified leads for the company. This is the metric that tells you the most about your efforts. Therefore can give the biggest indictor as to where it was a success and where it can be improved.


Create an Editorial Calendar

Last but least, an important way of keeping on track of everything and staying ahead of the game is to have a ‘content schedule’. If there’s a common thread between the biggest brands on social, it’s that they post on a consistent basis.

Chances are that when doing it, juggling multiple social channels and trying to tick as many boxes as possible is incredibly challenging. This is why having a content calendar can make the process much easier by:

  • Allowing you to fine-tune each post for each platform without having to jump between sites.
  • Timing posts to maximize engagement, keeping you from having to constantly post in real-time.

Taking the time to make a schedule does double duty of keeping your social media presence organised while also maximising your contents’ reach. This inevitably helps a company reach its potential, whilst being able to continuously funnel information to a specific target market.

 

 

 

Unflitered: The Truth about Influencer Marketing

Leah Mahon, MSc Digital Marketing Management student


Influencer Marketing (IM) is the latest marketing trend to take the digital plethora by storm – one like and re-post at a time. According to Influencer Marketing Hub, IM combines the use of old and new marketing strategies, and turning it into modernised content fuelled marketing campaigns through collaborations between brands and “influencers” who set up their own social media pages and create their followings.

For businesses – big and small – it is worth getting to the know the person behind the filter before letting them influence which directions your business goes down. Here are a few things to keep in mind…

The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) Guidelines came into full force after numerous followers of popular YouTube and Instagram accounts were collaborating with brands and not making aware that they were receiving a profit in return from their content. To ensure transparency among the audience you’re trying to reach through your Influencer, clarifying that a simple #ad or #sponsorship can save them and your business some major thumbs down.

Beauty Vlogger Zoella

Clear communication is key between your business and the influencer you choose to work with. Popular beauty vlogger, Zoella, faced backlash from her fans and their parents last year after her collaboration with Boots and her 12-day advent calendar, containing a bauble and cookie cutter, saw it priced at £50.00 – putting her good girl next door image a risk. She stated, however, that the final cost of the product was not her decision, and given the many loopholes it takes for a product to make it on shelves whom has the final say is usually obvious. However, businesses need to remember that every detail from the price to the packaging will affect the message sending out to their new audience in some way – and ultimately both parties pay the price.

Oprah’s contradictory Tweet

The Influencer has to believe in the brand and the product or service it is promoting. Microsoft collaborated with world-wide influencer, Oprah Winfrey to endorse their new Microsoft Surface tablet. Social Media Today describes how Oprah sought out Twitter to promote the new technology – only to do so via her iPad, one of the product’s direct competitors. Despite her global influence, not even she could increase sales if her influence doesn’t even believe in the product itself. It’s important for businesses not to collaborate just for the number of likes and followers, but what the Influencer believes in too. Right down to what tech they like to send their Tweets and DMs off.

At the heart of this new industry trend is authenticity amongst the audience that follows. In a time when filtered photos begin to look just like that, picking an Influencer that is transparent with their following from the start and for you to harness their honesty well, can be the deciding factor for a like or dislike.