My social media journey - Week 5

Posted by on Jul 28, 2013

Andy Hatcher of The Mapp talks about links and backlinks

Andrew hatcher

(Andy is the MD of  The MAPP Ltd., a company that provides simple visual planning solutions)

“Nonsense and beauty have close connections.” E. M. Forster


Listen to Andy’s interview on Show 20 Mapp-logo-R-80

Summer sloth has set in (plus a bike ride to Paris) which means I have slipped again – but at least the sun’s still out!

Visitor numbers are still rising although only just about up to 243 – Summer affects everyone I am informed… 3 more free account signups which makes 27 in total.
So this week I started to have a look at the world of links – or perhaps more correctly “backlinks”. Now these little critters seem to have a special type of magic when it comes to search engines and what they are really looking for in terms of ranking your site.

Not all links are equal

So simply put, backlinks, which are also sometimes known as ‘inbound links’, are links on other people’s web pages that are directed towards your website. In simple terms if someone else puts a link on their website that links to yours then it means that they have attached some value to your website in association with theirs. And because of this value attachment, the search engines also think that those links are valuable and so give them more credit and assign them a high level of relevance in search results.
So at this point many people go off and get as many links to their site as possible which in itself will no doubt provide some wider presence. As always, however, there is some small print which says that all links are not equal and some are rated as having greater ‘quality’ than others making them more valuable again. This then raises the question about what makes a quality link.

Quality links

Although it is not completely written in stone, the level of quality seems to depend on whether the link comes from a site that has similar or related content to yours. This generally means that these links have been added consciously by the site owner to provide their viewers/users with a better and more comprehensive experience and the search engines naturally prefer this to automated linking which is increasingly frowned upon.
Reciprocal linking (I link to you and you link back to me) seems like a sensible way to develop as long as the partner is a content fit but it seems that Google specifically applies a drag on those sites that have non-relevant links – have a look at Google Penguin for more details.
As a recurring theme, this area also has a little micro-industry of players designed to help you develop your understanding of links. I immediately liked as it gives you an instant report on how well your own site is linked, which surprised me as I found that I already had 28 backlinks in place. Google itself provides help through its own Google Webmaster Console but I haven’t tried that out yet.

Tracking links

Ultimately it is good practice to keep track of your backlinks, to know which sites are linking back to you, and how the text used by the other sites (often called anchor text) uses keywords relating to your site – and yes there are tools for that too such as Back Link Analyst.
So if you are reading this and think that your site might be worth linking to ours then please get in touch as this seems to be the best way to organically develop some presence while providing a better service to all our users!

Follow the progress of The Mapp on Twitter @The_MAPP" target="_blank">@The_MAPP 

Week 4 of Andy’s journey is here

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My social media journey - Week 4

Posted by on Jul 8, 2013

Andy Hatcher of The Mapp continues charting his Social Media journey.

Andrew hatcher

(Andy is the MD of  The MAPP Ltd., a company that provides simple visual planning solutions)

“Words are, of course, the most powerful drug used by mankind.”  Rudyard Kipling


Listen to Andy’s interview on Show 20 Mapp-logo-R-80

I have committed the cardinal sin of ‘content slip’ – a concept, which if not already coined, I am laying claim to. Ann Hawkins reminded me that this sequence of articles is advertised as a weekly event and it seems this is only the fourth one in five weeks. So as part of my journey I hereby claim ‘content slip’ as mine and define it as the process of gradually and imperceptibly missing content submission deadlines. Every cloud…

Producing engaging and valuable content

Visitor numbers are still rising although only up to 159 from 120 – I am confidently told that these numbers mean nothing at this stage but I do like to measure so I will use them as a guide – only 5 new free account sign ups but if I’m getting more than zero then I’m happy.

So this week my attention has been focused on developing the elusive e&vc (engaging and valuable content) but was again stopped in my tracks when told that there is little point in writing anything unless it includes ‘keywords’ that will be found by people using search engines – primarily Google. This has now opened up yet another micro universe of activity populated by systems and companies that are addressing small problems you encounter along the way to solving large ones – i.e. attracting traffic to your site.

Finding keywords

So my task was set – find the best keywords.  Easy I thought.  There are loads of ways to describe what we do; visual planning, online collaboration, team engagement and so on. Job done I thought until Andy Bargery of Klaxon Marketing showed me that in reality no one was using any of my ‘ideal’ terms on the web to look for planning systems – how can that be? I’ll be talking more about Andy in subsequent posts but he showed me how to start developing a better list of keywords that seem to match what people actually search for.

So with my initial list lying in tatters on the floor, I turned to using a few tools like Optify and Google’s interestingly-named Wonder Wheel to try and create a more effective list. What I learned is that what you really need is a keyword (not necessarily a single word) that is searched on a lot but for which there is less competition – meaning that proportionately fewer results are returned when your search for it on Google. Yes, it took a while for me to work it out but I found that this document from explained it pretty well.

This process also uncovered a couple of neat tricks which were not obvious to me.

  1. If you have a successful competitor find out what keywords they use and use them too – I am assuming this is ethical but if anyone knows differently then please do tell.
  2. Using the tilda character “~‟ (I thought that was rice…) before a word on Google will bring back synonyms of that word, highlighted in bold within the search results.

And yes, with reference to that new micro industry, there are even services that will help you do this with reduced effort such as Wordtracker, Keywordeye and Keywordspy to name but three.

Long tail keywords

So with a bit of work I have now created a list of 20 keywords that seem to reflect what we do as a company, are searched on a good amount by the general public and seem to be fairly uncompetitive. I felt accomplished until I then read that the job is only half done – what do you mean you haven’t created you long-tail key word list yet?

The stats of the week for me was that in my research I found out that 14,800 people search for ‘simple plan’ each month and 9,900 look for ‘getting things done’ – better have a look to see what comes up…

Follow the progress of The Mapp on Twitter @The_MAPP" target="_blank">@The_MAPP 

Week 3 of Andy’s journey is here

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My social media journey - Week 3

Posted by on Jul 1, 2013

Andy Hatcher of The Mapp charts his Social Media journey.

Andrew hatcher

(Andy is the MD of  The MAPP Ltd., a company that provides simple visual planning solutions)

“One may say the eternal mystery of the world is its comprehensibility” – Einstein

Listen to Andy’s interview on Show 20 Mapp-logo-R-80

So the weekly report now says that I have had 120 visitors this past week up from 42 so that seems great and, along with 8 free account sign ups, the figures, albeit not in any way startling are at least moving up! No new intruders this week so it was a week of investigation and consolidation.

The Twitter dance

In order for Twitter to be useful as a way of interacting with others you will clearly need others to interact with so part of my week was spent trying to demystify the ‘follow’ process which although appearing simple is in reality almost a complex a dance as some of those exotic jungle birds that David Attenborough goes on about.

There seems to exist a semi-formal etiquette associated with good ‘following’ which has evolved since Twitter’s inception and is continuing to do so as the medium develops. Rules make me feel a bit more comfortable so here are some of the key ones I found out about:

  1. If someone follows you, follow them back – there is some discussion about this but most seem to rate it is a ‘must do’ behaviour. This seems fair enough to me although looking by some of the people who have followed me I can’t imagine why they have.
  2. Follow back manually – this one seems to get lots of people riled, especially those who dislike automated follow-back software of which there are many examples. I don’t see it as a problem at the moment as I am thankful for anyone who thinks it is a good idea to follow me.
  3. Direct Mail thanks for following – still not sure about this one as it seems to start to generate overhead and I’m not sure that everyone wants a thank you. Social Oomph will even do it for you for a fee – boldest company name of the month award.
  4. In general keep the number of people you follow within close proximity of the number that follow you to show that you are not following too aggressively which Twitter doesn’t like and will let you know – see later.
  5. Clean up after yourself and unfollow those that have not followed you back after a while. This appears to be something like ‘I’ll stop scratching your back if you won’t scratch mine’ but I don’t think I’m there yet!

I’m pretty sure I’m just scratching the surface here but I suppose with so many people involved some rules were bound to evolve.  Would be interested to hear of others that I have missed.

The last thing I read about was the limit Twitter imposes on you once your follow lists grow. Essentially it appears that Twitter will not let you follow more than 2000 people until you have at least 2000 following you – a scale check that you are serious I suppose.

So my Twitter numbers are growing although why Pastors from Southern Californian churches are interested in visual planning I’m not sure. Maybe they are planning a successful future for us all – let’s hope so.

Follow the progress of The Mapp on Twitter @The_MAPP" target="_blank">@The_MAPP

Week 2 is here 


Some controversial stuff here: tell Andy what you think of his Twitter strategy below …..

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My social media journey - Week 2

Posted by on Jun 24, 2013

Andy Hatcher of The Mapp is charting his Social Media journey, week by week .

Andrew hatcher(Andy is the MD of The MAPP Ltd., a company that provides simple visual planning solutions)

Getting Found, Getting Lost and Getting Hacked!

Listen to Andy’s interview on Show 20 Mapp-logo-R-80

With week one behind me and a report that showed that I had had a total of 41 visitors and one free account sign up I was feeling very happy that things could definitely be worse - and then I woke up on Monday to find that our Twitter account had been hacked. The hacker seemed to think that our account represented a great way to sell Canadian pharmaceuticals which was a new one on me. Does anyone really ever click those links? I truly hope not!

So having been found by someone undesirable, the rest of the week was focused on how to find those I really want to connect with.  And assuming I can produce fascinating content, surely others will clearly be unable to resist and flock to it in droves. But where are they, these hordes of potential readers and with luck subscribers? Are they deliberately hiding from me and my wonderful content?

Well it seems once again that the game has changed and people now choose what and when they read rather than just sitting there being broadcast at.

We decided that Twitter was the place to start and, on advice, invested in a Hootsuite licence in order to manage our social media world. Hootsuite is a little daunting at first sight, but once it is set up it starts to make some sense and even better begins to demonstrate that despite all the initial confusion there is a world there that can be made sense of. Hootsuite announced the occasion of somebody actually retweeting something of mine which was a little surprising as, in all honesty, I wasn’t sure whether that was a good or a bad thing. Reassured that it was a good sign, I then got completely lost in the detail of how to thank someone and sent a direct message with thanks to someone completely unknown to me.

Getting lost in the social media maze, as it still seems, is an occupational hazard for someone who likes order and reason.  An engineer by training, I look for the system diagram of course, where does the process start and end, what routes does data go down and how is it processed, measured and managed. Try as I might I can’t find one - no one else looks surprised but me.  So in the end you have to just close your eyes and dive in, make mistakes and learn.

The big decision this week was to choose a blogging theme that can show that we have some useful knowledge in our specialist area of planning. We ended up with creating a list of the ‘The 10 Greatest Plans The World Has Ever Seen’ and with a quick survey to develop a suitable list the first one was on its way.

So from a starting point of being hacked, through a long process of getting lost, the week ended with a light of encouragement and something tangible with we might just get found.

Follow the progress of The Mapp on Twitter @The_MAPP


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My social media journey - Week 1

Posted by on Jun 16, 2013

 Andy Hatcher of The Mapp will be charting his Social Media journey, week by week .

Andrew hatcher

(Andy is the MD of The MAPP which provides simple visual planning solutions.)

Whether ’tis nobler to be liked or to be shared?

It was with some trepidation that as summer arrived in the UK, my company finally crossed the border from the country called pre-revenue into the land that lies beyond (which I suspect is called no-revenue). The second iteration of our online service had finally been built to that magical point of minimum viability and could now be allowed out of quarantine to our slavering public.

My long suffering advisor asked me, with a completely straight face, whether, when people read my blog, did I want them to like me or share me?

The last time I did anything like launch a new product 

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The visual web and social media

Posted by on Jun 10, 2013

The presentation that Dirk Singer of The Rabbit Agency mentions in Show 19 is here:

KPCB Internet Trends 2013 from Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers



Dirk Singer of The Rabbit Agency talks about why visual images are becoming more important in so many social networks


The visual web and what it means for you from The Rabbit Agency (Rabbit)
Hear Dirk talk about his interest in social photography on Show 19 
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80 Rules of Social Media

Posted by on Jun 5, 2013

What is your favourite social media ‘rule’?

We all have them but Jeremy Waite of Adobe, who was our first guest on the show, has just posted his “80 Rules of Social Media”. Its a hilarious and irreverent, straight talking view and we’re asking our readers and listeners to tell us what their favourite rule is. 

Leave us a comment below and we’ll read out your favourites and give you a mention on the show.

Jeremy’s post is here on his blog “Follow Me I’m Right Behind You”

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The psychology of sharing and social media: 3 things you need to know

Posted by on Jun 1, 2013

By Nathalie Nahai, The Web Psychologist.

Read her best-selling book, Webs Of Influence, here. 

This post originally appeared on


Hidden drivers

There are many different, psychological drivers behind online sharing.

Whether you want to impress your peers, gain new followers or drive traffic to your website, the subconscious principles that govern the way we share can also be used consciously to help you create more contagious content.

Here are three of the most effective principles at play:


1. Social validation

Social validation refers to our desire to develop ‘meaningful social relationships, and retain a favourable self-concept’ [1].

As a social species, we are psychologically driven to strengthen our friendships and do things that make us feel good about ourselves. This is one of the key (albeit subconscious) reasons why videos such as Grumpy Cat, Psy’s Gangnam Style and most recently the Harlem Shake, go viral.

They make us laugh, and we share them in the belief that they’ll make our friends laugh too, strengthening our social ties in the process.

Action tip: If you want your content to get shared, create content that will make enrich your target group’s relationships and self-concept. At a fundamental level, you can do this by creating something shocking, funny or novel, bringing us neatly to the second point.


2.  Novelty

Contrary to the popular belief that similarity breeds connection [2], when it comes to online sharing it turns out that there are often other forces at work.

In a huge study looking at content sharing on Facebook [3], researchers found something they didn’t expect – that your weakest ties are often the most influential. So much so, that you’re actually ten times more likely to share a link that a weak connection has posted, than if a close friend had posted it.

Why? Because that information is more likely to be novel. This effect is so pronounced that your ‘weak ties are collectively responsible for the majority of information spread’ [4].

Action tip: To make the most of this principle, all you need to do is look at the content that is being shared in your target group and classify each into one of two buckets: ‘normal’ or ‘novel’. Once you’ve established the key themes or elements that make up the content in each bucket, you can use your findings to create, source and share content that will fall into the ‘novel’ category and therefor be more likely to be shared.


3. Emotional arousal

Whether you’re an expert or not, it should come as no surprise that the kind of content that goes viral does so because it pushes our emotional buttons.

But it’s not just feel-good content that benefits from this principle. In fact, recent research has shown that content that induces high-arousal states – whether they’re positive (joy and awe) or negative (anger and anxiety) – can be very effective at boosting social transmission online.

You need only look at the success such campaigns as BMW’s advert ‘The Hire – Ambush’ and Allstate’s ‘Mayhem’ series have enjoyed, to see this negative emotional arousal in action.

Action tip: If you’re crafting content from scratch, think about which high-arousing emotional state you want to induce in your viewers. Whether you want them to feel joyous or freaked out, if you build the right emotional triggers into your content’s narrative, its shareability will enjoy a dramatic boost.


[1] R. B. Cialdini and N. J. Goldstein (2004) ‘Social influence: Compliance and conformity’, Annual Review of Psychology, 55: 591–621. 

[2] M. McPherson, L. Smith-Lovin and J. M. Cook (2001) ‘Birds of a feather: Homophily in social networks’, Annual Review of Sociology, 27: 415–44. 

[3] E. Bakshy (2012) ‘Rethinking information diversity in networks’, Facebook Data. Available online at: 

[4] N. Nahai (2012) ‘Webs Of Influence: The Psychology Of Online Persuasion’, Pearson.

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Guest bloggers

Posted by on May 7, 2013

Blog 1Would you like to be a guest blogger for the show?

From creating content to outsourcing, from measuring influence to the Zero Moment of Truth, we’ve had some fantastic guests who have helped us to describe how social media and social networking is helping to create exciting business opportunities for people who see that there is “no more business as usual” and are eager to explore new business models. 

The show is attracting some interesting comments in our Google Plus Community  and we’d like to extend this to give more people an opportunity to become regular bloggers for the show. 

If you have an opinion or a story on how social media and social networking is changing the way we do business and would like to have it published here, let me know

Here are few guidelines for your guest post:

  • It will be in the same vein as our interviews -  broadly how social media and social networking is changing the way we do business (not how to set up a Facebook Page or a blog). 
  • It will be original - never published before *anywhere*.
  • No longer than 500 words (instalments are fine for longer topics).
  • Submitted as a word doc or similar.  
  • No images - we’ll source our own to avoid copyright issues.
  • No advertorial from “professional” marketers on behalf of their clients disguised as a guest post. 
  • No more than 20 words describing you, the author with your links. 

Looking forward to hearing from you!

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Why do you stay with your accountant?

Posted by on Mar 25, 2013




Its easy to find a new accountant.

Keeping clients is an important part of the relationship and Kelly Anstee of Tyrrell and Company explains what works for her.

I often ask my clients why they stay (I passionately believe in customer service) and this was one response I received:-

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Take a Swim in Social Media

Posted by on Mar 24, 2013

Can accountants and lawyers use social media well?

By Paul Hutchinson


swimming_cats_are_640_10As professional sectors such as law and accountancy face increasing pressure to engage with their future and current clients, Paul Hutchinson tells us that social media can play a massive part in their success.
Let’s quickly lay an argument to rest straight away, social media is here to stay. You might think it odd that someone in my position feels the need to highlight that in an opening sentence but you’ll be surprised how many professions still think that Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, et al are just a fad.

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