Monday, 24 November 2014

Facebook Changes to affect business

Social media is about that - being social - not salesy. Gently pulling people into your business through telling a compelling story - not thrusting your message onto them and ramming it down throats of unwilling people, over and over and over again. 

Facebook has become a place for businesses to sell, sell and oversell their product - especially direct sales. Some direct selling companies have strict guidelines in place, others don't. Some even manage your social media for you!

Not long ago Facebook banned 'like-gating' that is asking for likes in return for winning a prize, with a new range of changes due to come into play in January 2015 they are making it harder for you to 'conduct business' on their platform.

Facebook continuously seeks feedback from users on improvements. In a recent survey in regards to Newsfeeds, users requested wanting to see less 'ads' and more from their friends and pages that they choose to follow.

When Facebook looked into this it was determined that some 'ads' were in actual fact posts from pages that people had chosen to follow. The following types of posts were deemed to be 'ads' by users:

* Posts that solely push people to buy a product or install an app
* Posts that push people to enter promotions and sweepstakes with no real context
* Posts that reuse the exact same content from ads

So Facebook are answering the needs of its users and in January 2015 we will see more changes to what users will see on their newsfeeds - and this will impact businesses.

Do not despair however, Facebook was never supposed to be a 'place to do business' it is social - there to build relationships. To do business send people to your website. Create landing pages. Build your e-mail subscribers. Facebook (and other social media) is merely a way for you to build a relationship with interested people and funnel them to your website.

We will endeavour to keep you up-to-date with Facebooks changes and in the mean time you can do a free digital review with us!

For more information on these changes follow this link

Tuesday, 20 May 2014

Creating Success on Pinterest

Images. Pinterest is all about images. Therefore images you pin must be high quality, appealing and tell the story of your brand. The more amazing your images are the more chance of success you will have.
Pinterest has had the quickest adoption of any other social media platform - it is simple, you see a picture you like you pin it to a board. Using your boards much lie you would a 'vision board'. 
With images comes the issue of copyright - photographers especially fear losing control of where their images end up and who uses them without paying for them. Businesses need to be aware that they have a duty to ensure that images they use on printed materials or digitally, they have permission to use. This is simple purchase stock images or hire a photographer.
Pinterest does give you the opportunity to add the source code –however this can be changed as it is repined. So if you are uploading your images, add a watermark while these can be removed it will give you a second chance of maintaining your brand exposure. If you are repining make sure that you keep the original source code – it is good Pinterest manners!
There are a number of tools that can help you become a desk top designer. We have reviewed and listed all of these on our business tools page which is available to our marketing members.
There is two other tips for ensuring you get the bets out of your Pinterest pins:
1. Give your image names using your keywords and hyphens instead of spaces, this will make them searchable
2. Use the specified dimensions to ensure that your image looks the best
Don't forget that you are not limited to just 'images' Pinterest is also opening up more opportunity to businesses with the ability to upload YouTube and also Video onto your boards. Recently they announced that gif’s could be played within the platform without having to open a separate website and follow the source code.
Use your imagination to create amazing content on your Pinterest board/s that sell your brand!
For more information on Pinterest become a Visionary marketing member by following this link (special of $5 for the first month and $22 each month after!)

Wednesday, 23 April 2014

Creating a ‘job’ that will challenge and inspire

Have you ever had that feeling that you are doing something that is so totally right for you; You feel excited, energised, positive and buzzing with anticipation as to what wonderful thing will happen next for you; The universe is in alignment, it is all working out for, everything is falling into place.

Great feeling isn’t it. If you are lucky enough to have felt that.

What can you do if you haven’t felt need to find your passion, then your purpose will be clear and then you can turn your passion into profit!

Idealistic isn’t it?

Let’s start with your passion – your driver, the thing you get excited about. What is it? Indeed how do you find your passion?

This is a process I use for myself and for clients when needed. Take a piece of paper – draw a circle and put your name in it – this is your world. Write everything you do in the circle – as a ‘job’, as a family member, partner, parent, volunteer, for you and for the community – everything. Now we add colour....4 colours – what is ‘work’ that you make money out of; what you do in your ‘life’ outside of work; Your ‘skills’ and; your ‘passions’.  You could have multiple colours on one item – that is OK. If you have anything that does not have a colour that is not important to you – you need to stop doing that activity – outsource it or bin it.

Then you need to prioritise – numbers for those aspects that are important to fueling your ‘soul’ the drivers and things that make you excited. Letters for the things that are your hard skills and expertise (and that you really enjoy doing).

What you will have is a mind map of your life. When you need to make a decision go back to this mind map – the answer is there in the colours in the task and the priority you have given it. You will also see through the colours and the priorities the life activities that drive you, that excite you, that get you out of bed in the morning – and guess what that is YOUR PASSION.

The key to creating amazing business is to make sure that your passion is present in your business – when you complete the ‘Create An Online Business Course’ we look further at how these areas can combine to make a great business – where you are profiting from your passion.

Once you understand your passion, you can then look for your life purpose – if you are a visual person use a ‘vision board’ if you are a wordy person then create yourself a life plan (much like a business plan really). These will then in turn help you to see where you are aiming for and the steps you need to take to get there – your aims and objectives.

Your passion needs to twist its way through all aspects of your life – work/business and life – you do after-all spend a large portion of your time ‘at work’ why not make it what you want. It is also never too late to change what you are doing, maybe today is the day you make a decision to Create An Online Business.

Monday, 14 April 2014

Heartbleed OpenSSL: A Visionary Group Perspective

There's been a lot of media about a new virus that has been discovered, we wanted to let you know that Visionary Group Client websites are not affected by the new virus.

Heartbleed is a server based virus which impacts secure connections, such as online banking and eCommerce, which use encrypted connections such as OpenSSL.

You can do a number of things to mitigate infection:

  • If you use Google Chrome browser, you can install Chromebleed, which checks each site you visit and alerts you if the server has not been repaired.
  • Have a look at LastPass - saves your passwords securely and it's free; we have used it for a number of years now.
  • Some experts are suggesting to reset your passwords, but until we know the extent of the infection (and that it's a server issue) it's not clear that this is necessary.
  • Visit this article on Mashable, which lists a number of popular websites and their status:

Remember, please keep your Antivirus software up to date and run scans on a regular basis, we suggest that a paid version of your favourite AV software is best and is a wise investment.

Wednesday, 26 March 2014

Are you ready to start your own business?

The motivation for people to start a business is often as diverse as the businesses that they choose to start. For some it comes out of desperation to not being able to find a job; for some it is the need to not want to ‘work for the man’; for others it is because you have always had the desire to do it for yourself. In most cases these motivators could have built up over some time. You have been thinking about what sort of business you would like to run – what can you do that will best use your skills and expertise and also fuel your passion.

The single biggest motivator for people to start a business is the desire to want something better. You are no longer happy to ‘work for the man’ and join the drudge of commuting to work every day. Possibly you can’t find a job at the level of your experience and skills. The need to control your own life, make your own decisions and feel challenged. Often you feel like you have got stuck; there are no longer promotional opportunities available to you. You are no longer feeling happy and understand that there is more to life. You need to understand where your motivation comes from to start your business, in order to stay motivated when things are not going the way you thought it would-and there will be days like that.

Once you have the motivation that you want to create a business you are almost ready to start. The other important consideration is cash. You will need to ensure that you have enough ‘cash’ to be able to move from employment to self-employment (if indeed you are employed). For the lucky few you might be accepting a good sized redundancy package and able to use this as a cash buffer in that first year or so in business; for some you may be able to negotiate less hours – or even find a part-time job so that you can still put food on the table and create your business.  For those who are starting a business after resigning from a position or who are unemployed and moving into their own business, the need to generate cash quickly will be greatest.

Once you now you will be able to still pay your bills and put food on your table you can be secure in the knowledge that your business can have the best start possible, coupled with the motivation all that is left to decide is what you are going to do in your business and what do to first.

Deciding on what you are going to do in your business will mean not only looking at your skills and expertise but also your passions – starting your own business gives you the opportunity to create a business and ‘job’ for yourself that will challenge and inspire you.

You may need guidance in first working out what your business is going to look like and then learning the technical skills to actually manage a business. The Create An Online Business course will help you to understand the type of business that you would like to own and how to manage the technical aspects – then we will show you how you can then put that online and make money out of your online activity. At the conclusion of the course you will have a business that you are ready to press start on – one that uses your expertise and fuels your passion.

Monday, 24 February 2014

Ballarat CoLab: From Potential to Purpose

Since mid 2013, Craig from Visionary has been contributing to the development of a new coworking space - initially to exchange ideas during the feasibility stage and now as Secretary of the recently formed interim board, given the task to turn the dream into reality…

The transition from concept to reality is always a challenge, even more so when a new steering group is in it’s infancy and trying to find it’s feet; when you add the Christmas/New Year break and lack of certainty around funding into the mix you have a serious risk of nothing happening at all!

Call it sheer grit, stubbornness or making sure the core team continue to share the vision, Ballarat CoLab looks to become a reality; within a few weeks it seems that ‘all the planets have aligned’ and a great deal of momentum has once again appeared to support the initiative.

In the spirit of Web 2.0 and Guerrilla Marketing, we have launched a campaign for interested people to subscribe to a new mailing list, to register interest and also for any contributions offered in terms of membership, volunteering or specialist support.

To keep up-to-date with all development at Ballarat CoLab, simply follow this link to the Mailchimp subscription form:

Feel free to promote Ballarat CoLab via your clients, friends and family via your own communication channels too!

Thursday, 20 February 2014

SOLOMO: Will Retail Consumer Big Data Self Regulation Protect Privacy?

Tracking of consumer’s movement within a retail space can give valuable insight into how to sell products and services better - offering yet another dimension to the demographic ‘Big Data’ retailers glean from your everyday shopping.

The use of location based services within smartphones allow for marketing technology firms and their retailer clients to record their every move - where you travel within a space, how long do you linger at a display and many other activities all provide significant insight.

The smartphone is the most contemporary form of human-computer interaction that we have today, the concept of Social Media, Local Search & Mobile Technology (SOLOMO) has heralded a new era in connectedness, but also convenience for both consumers and traders alike.

I started my working career in the retail industry, back when Coles Myer still ran it’s own internal Manager Development Program; in the early 90’s we saw the beginnings of consumer psychology and measuring impacts of managing traffic in retail spaces… ‘shelf talkers’, ‘price pointing’, ‘visual merchandising’... but that was child’s play…

New York Democratic Senator and consumer privacy advocate Chuck Schumer has spoken out recently in favour of tracking firms to set themselves a ‘code of conduct’ and to self regulate.Mr. Schumer goes on to state that consumers must have the opportunity to ‘opt out’ at any time and to to receive ‘clear, short and standardised’ privacy notices.

As a professional who now develops digital businesses and markets them, it’s essential to provide consumers the need to be aware that their movements are being monitored and to fully disclose all privacy aspects of ‘Big Data’. I’m also aware that, particularly in Australia, legislation is developed slowly and now more than ever fails to protect and enforce some of the most basic of consumer rights… it’s one thing to make a law, but it’s another thing to be able to make them stick…

Several medium sized players in the industry have gone public to promote their support of regulation, however many other, bigger firms are yet to back the move toward better transparency and accountability that regulation should provide. Historically, self regulation in many industry sectors has been a failure and there is no evidence to indicate that it’s any different in this case.

Unfortunately, until there is an international standard for protection of privacy data, which is enforced effectively and has serious consequences when breaches occurs, then corporations will continue to collect big data and track consumers in order to be as much ‘on message’ as possible...

… maybe the Genie has already been let out of the bottle?