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Why ethical marketing is here to stay

Social responsibility, conscious capitalism and ethical marketing are all buzzing around the internet, are being pinged across email servers and are heatedly debated in meeting rooms around the world.

Why? because those who are paid to watch out for changes in market trends have already noticed that responsible business practices are much more than hipster fads or great searchable hashtags, they are part of a real shift in business behaviour that is in direct correlation with how our relationship with the planet is changing.

My fair lady

Ethical Marketing is a business philosophy that focuses on promoting fairness, honesty, and responsibility in an honest and valuable way. The idea is essentially that making a profit and doing something that is responsible for the surrounding environment doesn’t have to be at odds with one another.

In the past, charities, NGOs, and social enterprises would take the mantle and fight for our rights and protect our already damaged planet against the profit obsessed wheel. Now people are asking, how can we slowly change profit based companies to also care about social and environmental values? The answer is combining the two.

The very fact that modern marketing content now always involves showing the consumer that the company has ‘real values’ is a sign that ethical marketing is not just the cherry on the cake but is actually becoming the basic recipe for successful promotion.

If I were a rich man

Some may scoff and say just because companies are starting to promote ‘green’ or ‘corporate responsibility’ values doesn’t mean they have changed, they are still making a profit out of being ethical – but that is exactly the point! It would be well intentional but entirely naïve to expect the majority of companies to significantly reduce profit margins just to do ‘the right thing’.

We are living in pragmatic times, and we understand that you can’t dismantle such an ingrained economic model without getting a bit messy and revolutionary. But what you can do is improve it and make it more in line with human nature and in balance with the planet.

Marketing also has a boundless power to affect consumer choice and so ethical marketing promotes a product or idea as honestly as possible to avoid misleading the audience. Working under the banner of integrity, value and respect also feeds into a growing hunger among consumers and so is actually a smart business decision.

It’s been a long time coming

Marketers by nature always have their ear to the ground, and have heard the pitter patter of changing consumer values for some time. They know that people are saturated by information and are tired of being obviously sold something or taken for a ride. Consumers are also slowly but surely prioritising companies that give back and that affect the environment in a positive way or in the very least limit their negative impact.

Which is why ethical marketing isn’t just something to appease the recycling loving millennials, it is an idea that is practical, pragmatic and slowly transforms a profit margin obsessed company into a company that still hits its targets but is part of the system of change our planet and our societies so desperately need.


Sara is a freelance writer based in Manchester. She owns the commercial and creative content company Fraiche Ink, focusing on think pieces and marketing content.

WordPress is arguably the most successful and influential blogging and website platform there is, and is estimated to power 14% of the world wide web today. A large part of its success is due to its rich set of features and its highly adaptable and powerful plugins.

For those of us who are still getting to grips with the mysterious digital realm of building blogs or websites, plugins are basically bits of software that can be added onto your page by uploading them.

Plugins tend to either extend or expand how your page functions and in many cases, provide a complete solution for the user, i.e. most of the background work is done by the plugin builders.

Plug me IN

‘Which WordPress Plugins should I be using?” has to be the most existential and googled WordPress user question out there.

So before jumping head first into frenzied google searches for Top 5 WordPress Plugins to use, the most logical thing to consider before setting off is whether you actually need one in the first place.

To answer this, ask yourself the following 4 things –

  1. Can the issue be solved without a plugin?
  2. Does the theme I’ve chosen have a built-in solution?
  3. Do I want to find a plugin to perform a specific task?
  4. Is what I’m trying to change or improve actually necessary?

If you’ve brushed the first two off with a no and answered the last two with a firm nod of the head, you are on the right path and do in fact need a WordPress plugin. Next step on the road to your plugin holy grail is to decide whether to use free or premium plugins.

To pay or not to pay

A large part of the WordPress community actually believe all plugins should be free. There are a lot of free WordPress plugins already out there which are great because they do what they say on the tin and, if you are strapped for cash or don’t believe in paying for plugins, are a more than viable option to solve your WordPress building woes. Some popular free plugins include: Contact Form 7, WordPress SEO, Google Analytics and WP Super Cache.

So then why part with your hard-earned coin when you can just upload something for sweet nothing? The two main reasons to air out your wallet when it comes to choosing the right WordPress plugin are –

  • Range – in some cases the issue you are trying to solve hasn’t been developed by charitable plugin builders and premium can be your only option.
  • Reliability – support teams from premium plugins actually work on issues reported by users, maintain security and compatibility with the latest WordPress version and ensure the plugin is compatible with other plugins you might also want to use on your site. This can also happen with free plugins but isn’t as widespread.
  • Saves time and effort – the support team works on issues flagged by users which saves time and effort trying to work them out yourself and means you don’t even need to manually monitor your plugins for vulnerabilities.

Don’t forget that after you pay for your initial premium plugin you usually need to pay extra for any major upgrades!

The final hurdle

In the end choosing between free or paid WordPress plugins depends on your budget, whether there is a free plugin for what you need, the complexity of your issue, your knowledge of plugin set up procedures and how much time and energy you are prepared to invest.

Now all that’s left for you to do is to find the specific plugin for your issue. If you know your stuff, go straight to the WordPress directory and have a good, long search. If you are a little bit wary of making the wrong decision and love expert advice then there are plenty of great bloggers out there that can help you choose the right one for you. Type in your specific issue and let the magic of the internet guide you to the right plugin for you.

PSST! The team @Bamboo Digital Manchester might be the genie to your lamp. We also create our own WordPress plugins!


Sara is a freelance writer based in Manchester. She owns the commercial and creative content company Fraiche Ink, focusing on think pieces and marketing content.

Getting through to your audience has never been more complicated.

We are living in an age of hyper-communication where each individual, on average, processes the equivalent of 174 newspapers and is exposed to an estimated 10,000 adverts every single day.

The hurrier I go the behinder I get

Cutting through the noise and grabbing fickle attention spans means that content must be engaging, digestible, genuine, and quick.

People essentially want to know the core point of any online content in under 2 minutes. 80% of people won’t read to the end of your page and most of your audience will only read 20% of any web content you post.

With these depressing statistics to hand, the only way to persuade audiences to read on is to galvanise your page titles and make sure that your first few points really pack a punch.

Made in his image

And let’s not forget the colossal importance of videos and images that give the reader a quick energy boost between grammatical constructions.

Infographics came on the scene to transform deep data into visual short hand. These visual ‘word bites’ are an extremely effective way of sharing a lot of information in an easily digestible and shareable format.

 

So why use infographics?

  1. Visuals boost engagement

    The human eye is naturally drawn to images, users pay more attention to graphics and are more likely to linger and retain more information because you have engaging visuals.

    ‘Engagement’ is banded about a lot on marketing sites, all that it really means is that there is a two-way interaction between the audience and the source. Infographics are the best of both worlds because they combine detailed information with images so that you get the necessary attention and engagement from your target audience.

    Crucially, they help move your content away from static results nestled in lengthy paragraphs and elevate data to build a visual information grid that captivates the reader.

  2. Infographics are more likely to go viral

    When a reader is engaged and believes that the information will also help others, they are more likely to share and generate a social media snowball effect.

    Visuals are a great way to highlight important information that your audience might not have time to read or even skim through in the body of your text.

    Without visuals, especially infographics, insightful and shareable information can often be over looked and can disappear into the pool of content swirling around the internet.

    Infographics help users immediately process and instantly relate to what you want to get across, which are the building blocks of social engagement and ultimately creating a viral post.

  3. Infographics are highly shareable

    Some people don’t actually need to go viral and just want to create enough awareness to start attracting new customers or increase their followers.

    Infographics are a great way to achieve sustained awareness and increase web traffic to your page or social accounts. They are a great tool to reach every corner of the internet and spread awareness far and wide.

    You can pin infographics to Pinterest, tweet one via your twitter account, share via private message or embed an infographic into your blog.

    A relevant and useful infographic will increase your site’s traffic because the people that share it will also link to the source and you will create organic traffic back to your site. You can also add HTML coding to your infographic so it becomes searchable and helps increase your google rankings.

    You can even let your infographic loose in the real world and print it for marketing campaigns, presentations, posters or leaflets. In fact, it’s a wonder an infographic isn’t taking over the world as we speak.


The Circle of Life

The reason infographics work is because they don’t just emit out information, they use engagement to push people to share which draws the audience back to you, your company or your online passion.

The circle works because, when you do it right, the traffic loop should never end. Your information is out there and every day someone is picking it up, and the more its shared the more it will attract users right back to the source.


Sara is a freelance writer based in Manchester. She owns the commercial and creative content company Fraiche Ink, focusing on think pieces and marketing content.

What does your online presence say about you?

‘Who am I?’ is a timeless question, and answering it has never been straight forward. Your true self not only changes through time and experience but is also adaptable to different situations.

Then there is the projected self, or how you show yourself to the outside world. You could call this your public profile or your own brand. The projected self is basically a more socially acceptable you that can jump more easily through life’s many complicated hoops.

In the past, this would usually mean understanding how to act respectfully in society within the laws and social rules of the time. Now, there is an additional way to project yourself, and that’s through your online presence.

Forever Me

The main difference between how you project yourself face-to-face with someone and declaring who you are online is that your thoughts and ideas are written on the internet with permanent marker and can be accessed globally.

If you aren’t very savvy on your privacy settings, any prospective boss, new love interest or potential follower can search where you went out when you were 18, what music you liked when you were 25 or what political beliefs you had when you were 30.

Away from your private online moments, there is also the intentional, public image you are uploading on the cloud. What you are doing on the internet matters not just now but in the future and the idea that you can balance separate personal and professional images might apply in your real life, but the distinction is blurred on the internet simply because both worlds can search for you.

Here are 3 examples that come to mind:

  1. If you own a business and don’t regulate all your online accounts, including your personal social media, you are setting yourself up for a damaging impression from a potential client who will automatically carry out a google search.
  2. If you are a CEO and share environmentally focused articles on your social spaces but your own company has no environmental image or accreditation, the two online profiles will look at odds and both will seem superficial.
  3. As an employee, shouting loud and proud about any idea on a public platform that is opposed to your organisation’s values can often lead to disciplinary action.

 

Push the Button

In a world that is quickly throttling towards never being offline, understanding how to balance your personal and professional online presence is crucial. Finding the balance between respectability, reputation and originality has always been a goal in life, but now getting it wrong can have a much more lasting effect.

The internet is what it has become today because we not only extract information out but we also constantly add our own selves into the framework, and simply pushing a button can catapult a thought or view across the internet. Knowing your own moral limits, personal values and professional goals are key in being able to navigate a digital world riddled with communication potholes.

The ultimate solution is knowing what to put under lock and key, understanding your online rights, keeping up to date with current branding trends and knowing what to SEO like mad.


Sara is a freelance writer based in Manchester. She owns the commercial and creative content company Fraiche Ink, focusing on think pieces and marketing content.

Sharing is caring

Are we transcending traditional social media?

There is a lot of online buzz about whether social media has replaced traditional marketing and journalism. The short answer to this is yes in a fashion it has, and quite a while ago.

What is more importantly happening is that traditional social media channels are being completely overhauled in favour of one streamlined and integrated communication space.

The clever coders and designers, that have helped each social media giant rise to fame and cling to it, have adapted their platforms to their users by using social media analytics to track how their platforms are being used and then adapt them accordingly. Some platforms are even letting their code change organically with each end user. This means that we are quite literally evolving and transforming social media channels just by using them.

If humans are naturally social, and want social media that can give them the most rapid, easy access and logical way of communicating then the unfaltering end-point will be that separate social media accounts will be transformed by their very users who will need all the channels to be part of one global platform.

Welcome to my world

Social media works because it lets us connect to others better and helps us feel part of a network. The birth of social media is often attested to Facebook, but often the invention before the invention is the place you should be looking.

Myspace, in my opinion, was the grandfather of social media. It has all the hallmarks of all our slick 2017 social apps; you had your own personalised space, you could share your tastes, beliefs and most importantly connect and communicate with other personalised spaces. Myspace was infamously left out to dry because it wasn’t integrated enough, didn’t update fast enough for its users, and didn’t put ease of communication on the pedestal it should have been. In other words, it became a static space.

Then Facebook came along and truly started the concept of social media. It used the concept of myspace and elevated it to immediate communication and used our need for recognition and popularity within digital circles to set the web world on fire. It is not an exaggeration to say that Facebook changed the world, in the very least for the first Facebook generation.

Time for a change

What Facebook and all other major social platforms do well is that they understand that the world of social media is ‘adapt or die’. The user is fickle and will jump to another platform if it fits more with their lifestyle, viewpoint, and modern way of connecting. This has forced the social media channels to constantly react or face Myspace style extinction and so what we are seeing is a mass merge of unique social media features.

Like kids at the playground asked to share a bag of sweets and thinking that by taking half of another kid’s sweet they have more overall.

The list of examples is long but here are 5 that come to mind-

  1. Instagram is becoming the place where you post your status via images (instead of content only on Facebook or even album sharing) You can also post on Instagram and instantly share on Facebook, twitter and Tumblr. Basically, making all three platforms one sharing space via Instagram.
  2. Hashtags are no longer a Twittersphere phenomenon but can be used on any social media and searchable on google.
  3. Instagram and recently Facebook now have ‘stories’ just like snapchat and even have Snapchat style video filters.
  4. YouTube is testing community features to allow creators to share images and text (just like Facebook)
  5. Facebook is trying to be the go to place for sharing stories, videos, and news articles (aka twitter and YouTube).

In their dogged quests to outdo each other, eat up the competition and remove the others individuality, they are inadvertently throttling towards one, open and integrated communication space. Soon all social media will have bitesize and immediately streamable/shareable video, image and content that you will be able to share over all social platforms at once to get the maximum impact.

This then brings about an unavoidable prediction – If all social media is reacting to the user and the user wants to be connected to all platforms at once then an elevated super social platform that transcends traditional social media channels is where we are heading.

And if that is hard to believe, think about if people in the 1960s would have believed how much journalism could change with the invention of an online social address book.


Sara is a freelance writer based in Manchester. She owns the commercial and creative content company Fraiche Ink, focusing on think pieces and marketing content.