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April 27, 2012

IIPSI Construction Update

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The team had its first visit to the IIPSI building last Friday and finally we were able to see the internal elements of the building taking shape. The three floors all have characteristics that are unique and it was great to get the view from the top floor across University Square and the lake. A few of the best pictures can be viewed here. Very soon the scaffolding will be removed and the building will be unveiled as the final developments take place. Official opening will be in late September. Updates will continue to be posted here and on various websites. For a more in-depth look at what IIPSI will feature and the context to what the building is about come along to our summer networking evening on the 14th June:

WMG SME Team IIPSI 2nd Floor

IIPSI View Engineering Hall

March 30, 2012

Measuring ROI from Social Media Activity

My colleagues Dr Xiao Ma and Dr Mark Swift delivered a session to a number of businesses at a recent workshop we hosted with the Engineering Employers Federation (EEF) on the benefits of social media. They talked about tools and techniques to better manage the resource commitment needed for undertaking social media activity, such as Hootsuite and Buffer and shared some interesting case studies including the work we did with Gravograph.

However, businesses in the session did raise the question about how to measure Return on Investment (ROI) of this activity. We get comments about ROI quite frequently and like other marketing activities, being able to determine the impact of this actvity can sometimes appear elusive. If you look at social media activity in the same way as engagement with press through PR activity or attending an event and speaking to a number of people it is not always clear if the effort has had an impact or could lead to business as a result.

Like all other marketing activity, social media is a channel to engagement and reaching target audiences. The more targeted effort made, the more liklihood that potential clients get to hear about your work and learn about your business. Social Media offers you the opportunity to not only become an advocate for your business on particular issues/subjects but also allows you to monitor other conversations, individuals and businesses, manage customer service and ultimately generate leads and sales. Here are a few ways you can monitor your activity on social media:

  • Set up Google Alerts and discover if your social media activity is being circulated online
  • On-going benchmarking through your Twitter account - followers, mentions. Tools such as Twitter Falls, Tweepskey, Social Mention and Klout are also good to monitor conversations and Twitter impact.
  • You can track visitors from Social Media through your Web Analytics and identify if increased traffic, conversions occur as a result
  • You can ensure that Social Media is monitored through your CRM system - find out where people have heard about you.
  • Certain issues or topics you talk about may lead to more interest in your business. If you establish this then tailor your content to these things.

Regardless of how this technology develops, business priorities and the things you want to do will remain the same. You must tie any social metrics to your business objectives.

Another question that is often asked is which social media platform should a business focus on. This is largely dependent on the type of business you are and your business priorities in terms of what you want to acheive. In terms of market reach, the leaders are Facebook and Twitter and would be a good place to start - particularly if you are a B2C type business. Using social media for B2B markets requires more focus and a more targeted approach as smaller numbers (results) can often be effective enough to make a difference.

November 17, 2011

What’s the deal with QR codes?

QR Codes, the little black-and-white square barcodes that can be scanned with a smartphone or tablet PC, are becoming more and more popular. They can be found in magazines, on billboards and even on television programmes. QR Codes are a way of storing and communicating information such as a link to a website or a paragraph of text. The technology was originally developed for tracking parts in the automotive industry, but is now used by many companies as a way of enhancing their advertising material.

How can companies use them?

First, a company decides on the data they want the QR code to contain; this could be an electronic business card, a link to a website or a paragraph of text. The code can then be generated for free on a number of different websites. A Google search for “QR code generator” brings up over 13,000,000 results, so companies are spoilt for choice! The QR code is then printed on advertising materials, product packaging or even displayed on a website. The customer can then scan the code with a smartphone if they have the appropriate app (free to download on most smartphones).

QR codes are popular, but is this because companies are keen to follow the trend or are they genuinely making use of their capabilities?

These little codes can easily be given built-in functionality such as triggering an email/SMS to your sales director, or linking to video on the internet. They can also be customised to include company logos, images and different colour schemes to make them fit in with existing branding.

With all these possibilities available, it seems a shame to simply use QR codes as a glorified hyperlink.

For more information on QR codes and how they can be used in your company, get in touch with the SME Programmes Team, or alternatively scan the QR code below!



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