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How Social Media impacts on the Wedding Industry


It's easy to get Wedding Fever nowadays, with the multitude of social media platforms you can use to visualise, plan and get ideas for the big day. Gone are the days of carrying around wedding magazines with post-it-notes sticking out from every turned corner.

Now, the future brides of this generation can pin their ideas, scroll through endless possibilities and share their experiences, ideas and choices with family and friends in an easy to view, easy to share way.

So how has the wedding industry been changed by Social Media?

Well first things first, there is a lot more choice. With the internet at your finger tips you can compare venues, dresses, colour schemes, florists, photographers, caterers and more just by viewing their sites and clicking through the galleries and portfolios. And to make it easy, you can collate all of that research into once place. Your Social media accounts.

There are other Social Media platforms such as Lover.ly which are aimed purely at the wedding industry, where you can view colour swatches, dress styles and more all in one place. But the social media platform that has really rocked the wedding industry is Pinterest.

Acting as a virtual pinboard where you can create boards for separate categories or subjects, and share or invite your friends and family to comment, post and contribute, the possibilities really are endless. And with it being so visual and captivating, it's an easier, stress-free way to plan. We're sure that many florists and wedding planners have been directed to Pinterest boards as an example of theme or style. 


Another feature that Pinterest provides is having the option to have private boards. Meaning that all secret themes, ideas or even the actual dress the bride is going to wear, can be added to a board and kept top secret. You can invite certain members of the wedding party so that they can see the board too, but the board is kept private from any other prying eyes.

In the day and age of Social Media, privacy is something that new brides are most likely to worry about on their big day. The idea of your guests snapping pictures and uploading it to their Facebook, Twitter or Google+ profiles may seem daunting to a newly wed couple who would probably prefer to vet any images before they are made public. After all, it's your special day! Some people ban their wedding party from this by asking them not to, it's very common in the celebrity world for phones etc to be banned from a reception altogether!

For those that don't mind their wedding being documented on social media, and want to be able to access any images uploaded in case they want to keep a copy for themselves, there are a few things that you can do in order to prepare. One is by setting up a specific hashtag for people to use if uploading images or information about your wedding, so that any moments captured by friends can be shared after the big event.

All in all, Social Media has had a huge impact on the Wedding Industry in all areas. Privacy is certainly one down side to those that want a private or cosy affair, but in terms of the planning and preparation, it makes things easier and simpler to organise.

Mashable have also written a great article about how Social media has changed the face of the wedding industry.

Our Client Care Manager David is getting married this year, as the groom, he feels that Social Media has an overly positive affect on Wedding Preparation. He says: "Social Media has made the process of saving the date, inviting and communicate information about the big day far easier and more accessible for our guests. My soon to be wife also has also taken to Pinterest in a big way, using it to collate her ideas and styles whilst sharing them privately with her bridesmaids and basically anyone who isn't me!"

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How Social Media is having an impact on our Health and Fitness



Social media has a pretty bad reputation in the media, when it comes to the impact it has on our daily lives. From psychologists saying that it creates narcissism, to mental health issues and addictions, we are exposed on a daily basis to negative press about social media, and the internet in general.

However, since the rise in use of the Apple Watch, the Fit Bit and online nutritional websites such as My Fitness Pal we decided to delve a little deeper into how Social Media in particular affects health and fitness in society.

1. 40% of people say that information found on social media affects how they've coped with a condition, their view of diet and exercise and their selection of a doctor.


This is important because: People use social media to discuss and circulate their opinions and experiences. We are continuously influenced in our decision making when it comes to healthcare options. For health care professionals, this is both a plus and a negative. The plus being that people are talking about their health issues and questions and are happily coming forward with queries. The down side is making sure that people have access to the correct information, and don't make a decision based on incorrect or false facts.

Health care professionals can easily make correct and proper information available to people on Social Media on verified Facebook, Twitter and Google+ Pages. (Examples below.)




2. 28% of health-related conversations on Facebook are supporting health-related causes, followed by 27% of people commenting about health experiences or updates.


This is important because: People are raising awareness, even if it's by having an opinion or sharing their story or experiences. Having people talking and discussing issues online (such as the ALS ice bucket challenges that went viral on Social Media a few months ago) means that the charities involved in raising funds and awareness for their campaigns get free press. And for a not-for-profit organisation, this is the key to their marketing and PR.

3. 2/3 of doctors are using social media for professional purposes, often preferring an open forum as opposed to a physician-only online community.


This is important because: People feel that doctors in particular are easier to access. Gone are the days where you have to book an appointment (and usually wait weeks) to get time to go over any worries or issues you have with your doctor. Forums are great, when they are run by a professional governing body, because it's guaranteed that the information is going to be correct, safe and secure.

4. 30% of adults are likely to share information about their health on social media sites with other patients


Whether it's someone live blogging about their experience with a particular disease, someone fund raising on behalf of someone they have lost due to a disease or someone who is promoting their healthy living life style for others that want to know more about following in their footsteps, Social Media offers a free marketing pedestal for anyone who wishes to get involved and create a community.

5. 19% of smartphone owners have at least one health app on their phone. Exercise, diet, and weight apps are the most popular types.


With the percentage rising every time someone signs up for a health app, monitoring their fitness, tracking their nutritional values or simply to show how far they have run or cycled, it's clear that technology is benefiting the Healthcare Industry

With information being made readily available to those who need it, from professionals who can circulate good quality and useful content from their verified sites, to people sharing personal journeys and experieces with their healthy living, the web has become a place to motivate and encourage those who are in search of top tips and healthy living pointers.

With Facebook groups and pages, Twitter's trends and topics, Pinterest's Boards, Instagram's documentation of life and more... Social Media seems to be having a positive affect on those interested in health and fitness.
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5 Free Icons Sets to Smarten Up your Website Design [FREE DOWNLOAD]



Just for you lucky readers of the Toolkit Blog, we’ve done a round up of 5 excellent icon sets you can download right now for free. 

Icons are a quick and easy way to add visual flair to your website design. Sets of icons contain something for every business or industry. They also help bring all your elements together with one powerful visual style.

With our brains processing images 60,000 times faster than words, you’ll be engaging with visitors a lot faster than you thought possible. Let’s dive in!

1) 120 Free Sports Icons



This set of sports icons are great for a sports centre, personal trainer, gym, or school. There are 4x40 icons - 120 in total - and they're sorted in folder for different image formats and styles.

Download these 120 Sports Icons for free!

2. 50 Free Construction Icons



This set is great for any business in the building or construction industry. They are in a style commonly referred to as 'stroke icons' and can bring a real clean aesthetic to your site.

Download these 50 Construction Icons for free!

3. 71 Free Traffic & Transportation Icons



Perfect for the transportation industry! These pixel perfect traffic and transportation can help users instantly understand your message, in any language! Is it a motorbike? Is it an ambulance? Let them know, with these 71 free icons.

Download these 71 Traffic & Transportation Icons for free!

4. 50 Free Home & Public Library Icons



For that cosy feeling of sitting down with a book and a brew look no further than these home & public library icons. Ideal for a library, bookshop, cafe, interior designer, or architect. 

Download these 50 Home & Public Library Icons for free!

5. 45 Free Subtly Social Icons



Everyone needs some great looking social icons on their website. They are recognised instantly all over the world. While these icons stray slightly from some branding guidelines they still perform great no matter what industry your business is in!

Download these 45 Free Subtly Social Icons for free!
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Mobile Website Vs Responsive Design


Is your website built for desktops, mobiles, or both?


In 2014 it was reported that 30 percent of all searches came from mobile devices, and since then this figure has increased to over 60 percent. In response to this rise and looking at Market Research trends, Google has changed its search algorithm to reward sites that are mobile optimised.

You may remember our Mobilegeddon post, where we explained what the new algorithm change means for you and your website, and what we can do as your Web Design company to make sure that Google gives your website the green light for "mobile-friendliness."

This is one of the biggest changes to the Google algorithm in years, so it’s not one that you can ignore. With mobile optimised sites being rewarded in Search Engine ranking, if you do not have a responsive or mobile version for your website, it could suffer.

How does Google test for “mobile friendliness”?


The algorithm scans each page on a website, checking for speed, responsive design elements and mobile best practice.

The main things that they are looking for are quite simply:
  1. Text sizes that are readable without zooming and content that fits the screen so that zooming isn’t necessary
  2. Making sure that links are easy to click and access, and are not too close together
  3. That the websites code is designed and structured for mobile browser/devices
The above 3 points can be achieved easily by ensuring your website is either Mobile Responsive or by having it's own dedicated Mobile Website Service installed. 

The argument between whether to choose a responsive website or to have a mobile version built is a highly debated topic.

What is the difference?


Responsive Design: Applying a responsive design to your website means that your website is built for all screen sizes. A responsive website will 'respond' and collapse/expand automatically to fit the screen it is being viewed on. So whether you are viewing on a mobile, tablet or PC monitor, the website would reformat itself automatically to give the viewer the best possible experience.

Mobile Websites: A mobile site is a separate website built and designed for Mobile and Tablets only but based on your desktop sites branding, navigation and content. Mobile websites are designed with large navigation, easy to read content and optimised images for smaller screens. Our mobile website page explains this in more detail and offers great live examples of how our own mobile platform works.

So which should I choose?


The option that is best for your business depends on many factors, such as the purpose of the website, how websites of other businesses in your industry display and of course, the intended target audience (asking your customers never hurts).

Both options will force your sites design to be simple, clear and concise because mobiles cannot handle the all singing all dancing sites of yesteryear.

Something to bear in mind:


Having a responsive website design does not guarantee it is mobile optimised, it must adhere to Google's strict Mobile Friendly rules. Check out their Mobile Friendly Test service to see if your site is deemed mobile friendly.

Our Responsive Design and Mobile Website services both pass the mobile friendly test however many other websites do not due to their text size, layout, links, code structure and image sizes so it is worth checking.

Summary:


It’s a matter of personal preference and if you're Analytics data is telling you not many of your hits are coming from mobile devices then it may not be needed.

The question you need to answer is, do you want your website to look the same on all devices and just resize depending on the screen it’s viewed on, or do you prefer the style and layout of the mobile website service?

The decision is completely yours.

If you have any questions, or you would like more information on either of these web design services, please do not hesitate to call us on 02380 633 644.
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The Power of Testimonials


With the internet at the tips of our fingers, buyers are more educated than ever, conducting extensive research and comparisons before making a purchase. Not only can they trawl through information about the products or services they are looking into purchasing, but they can now also access testimonials and other peoples experiences to help aid their decision.

Social media is now a large factor for increasing leads for new customers, mainly because social media accounts are platforms where your potential clients or customers can get to know your brand, read users experiences and make more informed decisions.

o2 dealing with a customer query on Twitter


You may have seen people take to social media platforms such as Facebook or Twitter to express their opinions about products or problems they've had with certain services. This is now a much more common occurrence, and it's great in the way that you can give your clients/customers a prompt response dealing with their query and resolving it as soon as possible. This also means that any query or issue resolved, can be seen by other users and therefore reinforces the reputation of your business.

If problems or issues are dealt with in an appropriate manner, with good grace and you have a good response time, this will indicate to others that they will receive the same treatment if they were a customer or client of yours. It really is that simple.

More importantly, the rise of the use of social media for information sharing means that people are able to leave positive and in-depth testimonials, feedback and reviews on their experiences with you, which is a powerful marketing tool. These are the items that are most likely to be read by potential business leads and the more you have the better the idea they are going to get about working with your business.

How do you get testimonials?


Simply by asking your current clients or customers for a testimonial or review will do the trick. The amount of people that are willing to leave feedback after working with you is high, especially if they have had a good experience with you.

Another way of reaching people is by having your clients or customers provide you with video testimonials. This is even more powerful as people will be able to see the client expressing their views in person. If someone has gone out of their way to create a video testimonial, they must have been impressed with the service provided.

You can also encourage your client base to leave reviews for you on Facebook, or on other sites such as Trip Advisor for the Hospitality sector, Motorcodes for Automotive industries, WWDC for the web design industry and more. There are plenty of places for people to choose from.

If your service is centred around you, and you need personal testimonials and accounts of people who have dealt with you, you should take a look at LinkedIn and ask for recommendations from your network. These are all effective ways of accumulating testimonials and feedback (constructive criticism welcome) that you can then use in your marketing material, and feature on your website and social media accounts.

Why are testimonials so important?


A review left on Toolkit Websites Facebook Page

Potential customers or clients can read real account views of what your existing client base thought of the services you provided. It's an unbiased way for people to make up their minds about a company, because the reviews are candid and genuine. They’re not full of buzzwords or advertisement lingo, they’re the words of everyday people. People that your target audience are going to be able to relate to and trust the opinion of.

Once you have received testimonials from clients and customers, you can add these to your website or simply share them on social media so that other people can see them. Your audience will be able to see these new testimonials in their feeds, and if they aren’t already, this may give them an incentive to sit up and pay attention to your products and services.

Take a look at our reviews!

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