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Posted by David in Interesting

Six ways to drive engagement on your website

Technology has had a major effect on the attention span of humans; not long ago, researchers identified that human beings may now have a shorter attention span than a goldfish. This is a worrying development, considering the digital age we’ve grown into.

With your website being the forefront of your business communications, you need people to see it, stay on it and learn more about it. So, here are six ways to drive people to your site.

Write a blog

Yes, it’s time-consuming and yes, on its own, you might get better results by picking up the phone and talking to someone. Furthermore, it can feel as though everyone is doing it… but why?

A blog is a powerful tool for the author and reader, as well as for the key piece of technology that connects the two – search engines. These fundamental digital tools learn to prioritise fresh, relevant content – and in any case, the more you ‘blog’, the more you are likely to find that you enjoy it.

Optimise your SEO

What do you specialise in? What is your USP (unique selling point)? The search engines won’t know unless you tell them. Perform an audit of your website pages and see how many of them contain keywords and phrases that will help you to stand out.

Your blog can even help with this, as you learn to link pages to others’ sites and relevant content or form relationships with other businesses that would benefit from linking to your site from theirs or vice versa.

Use what you have

You don’t even have to come up with a network of new pages to make the most of your site right now. In fact, occasionally refreshing the content on the pages that you already have can greatly help them to be seen in a new light – by both people and search engines.

This means that the blog post or web page you first published way back when can still be useful and made more relevant than ever with just a little extra work.

Add content to your calendar

Schedule a few short and simple social media posts about what you’re doing, what you offer and what else you’re interested in.

One of the problems that people face when they land on any website is that it’s a digital presence only. In other words, it’s not a person who they will emotionally engage with. You should therefore add personality to your business by using social media channels and let other people know what inspires you so that you can inspire them.

Add visuals and videos

Not everyone is made for life in front of the camera. However, the majority of businesspeople have a very particular something in common – they enjoy talking about what they do.

If you appear to look into the eyes of your customers as you talk about your business, they will get to see the passion behind the product or service. You could even add a relevant image or video to every social or blog post to help to portray this passion in every piece of communication you create.

Listen and respond

In using social media, why not also listen to what others are saying about the sector in which you work? If you participate in Q&A sessions and polls and join the conversations already taking place across social media channels, you’ll meet new people – and their ideas – and get to talk knowledgeably about a subject in which you have achieved excellence.

With your Six Circles platform, you can invite the people who mean the most to your business into a powerful new community of ideas, conversation and growth. Get in touch with us today to discover how to keep driving the right people to your website, business and brand.

Posted by David in Interesting

Six ways to conduct market research using polls

Within your six circles platform is the potential to unlock a level of community insight beyond what you’ve been able to achieve before. Polls are always great ways of gaining quick, simple answers to the questions that matter most to you and your business. Here are several ways you can integrate them into your next market research campaign.

Start the discussion

What do people react to? Lots of things – correct! But, one of the best ways to gauge opinion, and stimulate a conversation, is by showing people how they compare to others. Create a poll, send it out, get it answered, and then publish the results on a platform for all to see. By starting a thread on the topic, you’ve then got access to reactions, questions, opinions, and the sort of responses that take a question, and begin to build an answer to it.

Learn more about habits

What makes your audience tick? Who are they and what do they need that you can provide? These are the kind of questions every business needs to know, but don’t always have easy access to. Polls are not just for opinions, they are can also about attitudes, feelings, and schools-of-thought. With a simple poll, you can quickly learn who your audience are, but with more detailed, carefully-chosen questions, you will also uncover the key what and why of your target audience.

Dive into demographics

With more information about the people you are communicating with, you will be able to create distinct profiles of who your audience are. This, in turn, will shape your next market research polls, and can be fed into your marketing strategy and future campaigns. Analysis of your findings is a key part of the market research process, and the more you can tailor your polls to specific audiences, the deeper level of understanding you will uncover.

Listen to what’s being said

Your polls so far should have provided you with a new level of insight into your target audience, but there’s no harm doing a little bit of covert investigation too. A poll can, of course, be created with an ‘any other comments?’ section, but there’s no harm in seeing what your audience are up to in the meantime too. Are they talking about something specific on your platform, or another, that you don’t know about? Your next market research poll could help you to help them with their problem.

Measure brand awareness

A poll is a great way to find out how your brand is performing, as well as gauging reaction to a new product or service you’ve recently launched. Sometimes, there’s no better way to measure your business, than by asking the people who most frequently engage with it. Have you met or exceeded their expectations, solved their problems, and kept them interested? Or did they miss your latest launch entirely? And, if so, you can establish why.

Short, simple sampling

Whenever you encounter a potential new client or customer, a simple way to establish whether you will be beneficial to one another is through a simple poll. Does this person need a product or service that you can provide, and, if so, how often or when? If they don’t need anything from you, now or ever, it’s safe to say you don’t need to involve them in any further marketing or research. Polls don’t just help you identify who are the most important people to your business – they also show you who isn’t.

When it comes to your Six Circles platform, not only can you use polls to communicate with the people within your community – you have our support in getting started, and keeping it going.

Posted by David in Interesting

Six networking tips to help you to stand out from the crowd

Does anybody actually enjoy networking? Simply, yes – in fact, some people seem to be made for it. They appear to be great at mingling, communicating and sharing their experience and expertise with others in an environment that is intimidating to so many other entrepreneurs.

In truth, though, anyone can learn to network effectively. It’s something that can benefit most businesses, and an excellent opportunity to get the right messages to the most important people, at key times for your business.

Here are some tips to help you to get a head start when you next attend an event.

Operate online and otherwise

According to Forbes, active networking is vital to entrepreneurial success for 78% of startups. This means you’ll face significant competition for attention at every event, so you should make sure you appear on social media and networking platforms too.

This gives you the ideal opportunity to display your character, humour and innovative ideas to at least some of the people you’ll soon meet on a face-to-face basis.

Research means results

This is actually one of the biggest benefits of modern networking – you, too, can get a good idea of who is going to be there, beforehand.

Don’t attempt to meticulously plan exactly what you’re going to say to them, though, as the opportunity may simply never arise. However, you can at least anticipate topics of conversation, interests and therefore opportunities before you even arrive.

Contribute creatively

You’ll encounter plenty of people at a networking event who are there to talk about one thing – themselves. These are the people who have probably prepared a ‘speech’, and you’ll recognise attempts to steer or dominate conversations at every event.

Nevertheless, by asking questions, offering ideas and trying to solve problems, you’ll display the kind of thinking that likeminded people will appreciate and may want to work with.

Enjoy engagement

You don’t have to walk the decks, incessantly introducing yourself to people, in order to be engaging. If starting the conversation isn’t your style, just be yourself.

Smile, nod and raise your glass – people often appreciate simple gestures over extrovert behaviour, especially when meeting someone for the first time. You can still stand out, even by being understated – so don’t be afraid to listen, encourage and even disagree.

Show your support

A great way to introduce yourself at a networking event is by being there for not just you, but also someone else. People will buy into reliability, so even if you’re suddenly engrossed in another industry entirely while networking, this in itself is still a conversation starter, and could put you in contact with a range of unexpected opportunities.

Guiding a young colleague or first-time networker through an event also displays trust, experience and patience that will be there for all to see.

Be original

You probably already are original, so you’ve got this covered, and you certainly don’t need to worry about trying to be anything other than yourself. If ‘dress to impress’ isn’t your thing, then you shouldn’t ‘fake it until you make it’ for a single, uncomfortable afternoon. Stand out instead with an engaging social media profile or quirky business card, or by being the most genuine and memorable person in the room.

Your Six Circles platform is the perfect place to share the date and time of your next event with others – and ensure you don’t miss out on where other members of your community are going in the meantime. Contact us today to learn more about what Six Circles can do for your business.

Posted by David in Interesting

Six fundraising ideas to help you to raise money for any cause

So you’ve got a charity or good cause picked out, but you’re stuck for a little inspiration on how to raise the cash for it? Don’t worry, we’ve got you covered.

There are many ways to raise money, and each one has a fundamental element at its core – emotion. In the same way you try to engage your audience with your marketing, advertising or communications campaigns, the following ideas are all approaches that appeal to the human hiding inside even the most impassive of your friends and colleagues.

Give up something, so that others give

Everybody loves to indulge. It’s one of the ways we’re all linked, and it’s these instant connections that help causes to be seen. Whether it’s letting go of a bad habit or simply giving up something you enjoy, people are passionate about seeing others get well – but can be equally intrigued by watching people suffer a little too! Quitting smoking, losing weight and even giving up alcohol for a short time are all simple things that people can buy into.

Let them eat cake

The almost complete opposite to the above tip is also popular, though – offering tasty treats in exchange for a donation will often motivate people to part with their cash and indulge in a little of what’s bad for them. It’s for a good cause, after all!

Incentivise your audience

What else do people love? Prizes! Whether it’s something incredible, small or even bizarre, raffles and prize draws create an element of competition. You can get really creative with this one by offering business services or personal assistance – even with something ‘everyday’ or mundane – that will give you the chance to show personality and compassion at the same time.

Work up a sweat

Why does running a marathon, embarking on a daunting swim or riding from one end of the country to the other on a bike seemingly never fail to deliver for a fundraiser? Again, at some point in our lives, most of us have probably wanted to do something like that, but have never gotten round to it. However mentally and physically challenging this sort of strenuous activity may prove to be, it’s the emotional side that makes it so relentlessly popular.

Get crafty

Tap into the creativity of people around you, and get to work on creating something that you can sell in the name of your cause. If you show that you’ve gone the extra mile and picked up a paintbrush, needle and thread, or even refurbished dusty old furniture, people will react positively to the extra effort you’ve put in to raise money for your cause.

Crowdfunding

On its own, crowdfunding might not be the most emotionally engaging way to raise cash, although some causes will tug at the heartstrings no matter what. However, your crowdfunding platform also lets you and others keep track of your fundraising totaliser, as well as share all of the other positive work you’re putting in elsewhere with any combination of the other ideas above.

With your Six Circles platform, whichever fundraising activity you create, you have the ideal mode of delivering your good-cause message to your community. Furthermore, once people begin to engage with your fundraiser, you may be pleasantly surprised by how many others want to follow suit. Give us a call today to discuss how we can help you to help others.

Posted by David in Interesting

Six ways to build a powerful community

With the power of a Six Circles platform at your fingertips, you can build an inspired and focused community around your business. It’s up to you who you choose to invite into your community, but it’s also down to you to keep them interested and engaged with what you have to offer.

Here are six ways you can keep your community growing.

Encourage content creation

Don’t just talk about yourself – let people talk about you… and themselves and others, too. Ask questions, start conversations and maybe draw up a poll or two to get them thinking.

However, more than anything, you should encourage people to get creative and add value to your brand with their own thought-provoking and entertaining content. If you do this reciprocally, too, you’ll likely find that you don’t have to work too hard to encourage content creation – people will become glad to create content for you.

Encourage content creation

Let your community be the place where people come to discuss and share opinions. React with follow-up questions and appreciative reactions, and work out what else you can do that will help to solve problems and add to the discussion.

Even a divisive subject can be useful for understanding more about what is motivating a certain audience, so you shouldn’t be afraid to test them with the odd surprise or sensitive topic.

Be open to their ideas

If you carry on listening, you’ll be pleasantly surprised by how much knowledge you can gather about what is going on in your community right now. Make sure they know you’re listening, so that their comments and ideas don’t fall on deaf ears – or in this case, blank screens.

Don’t be afraid to be critical, as this displays confidence, but try not to be overzealous when it comes to negativity. A strong community needs a strong leader who is capable of creative thinking.

Set and maintain boundaries

Bear in mind that some people are likely to be more forward with their ideas than other people, so you should set and maintain community boundaries and look out for the next ‘devil’s advocate’ in your feed.

Even if you have to step in to remind others of the boundaries, this will be another indication that your community is one of integrity.

Give power to your people

Don’t let your business be the driving force of your new community, as it is the people who make it what it is. You will, of course, have a strategic purpose behind starting and growing your community and shouldn’t lose sight of this, but people won’t respond positively if you merely bombard them with advertising.

You should therefore find an equilibrium between brand promotion and community management, and let people talk about what matters to them, rather than merely what matters to you.

Become a story-telling expert

Even the most powerful communities need guidance, and it is your job to provide it. By regularly starting discussions and engaging with the content created as a result, you can guide your community towards shared goals, as opposed to simply what benefits you or other individuals within the community.

Build your community with the mindset that you are a combination of author, narrator and even character, simultaneously capable of informing, inspiring and entertaining. You’ll find that the more you play all of these roles, the more you and your community enjoy it.

To become the leader of your own powerful community or to learn more about what the Six Circles platform could do for your business, contact our team of experts today.

Testimonials

“Since incorporating the Six Circles software to further grow our network, we have seen a vast increase in new members and interaction and we are attributing both to the ease of the site’s functionality.

For us, our marketing is now tailored more specifically and effectively due to the inclusion of useful analytics which allow us to form a better understanding of what our members really want.

We would wholly recommend Six Circles to organisations wanting to offer their consumers a platform to meet others, voice their opinions, publish industry news and receive an inclusive and enjoyable customer experience.”

The Mussel Club