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Daniel Nolan from search agency theEword on social media

Tim Gibbon (Social Media Portal (SMP)) - 12 September 2014

Daniel Nolan from search marketing agency theEword on balancing social media

theEword logoSocial Media Portal (SMP): What is your name and what do you do there for theEword?

Daniel Nolan (DN): Daniel Nolan, managing director at theEword. I run the agency day-to-day, ensuring the smooth operation of the business, its teams and projects. Furthermore, I continue to focus on the highest standards of quality control, taking a hands-on approach to monitoring the agency’s output and liaising with clients one-on-one to ensure they are happy with their digital campaigns.

SMP: Briefly, tell us about theEword, what is it and what does company do?

DN: theEword is a search marketing agency; based in Manchester, that specialises in search engine optimisation (SEO), pay per click (PPC) management and commercial web design.

The agency was founded in 2006 to provide commercially-focused digital marketing services that combine strategy with an emphasis on verifiable results.

Photograph of Daniel Nolan, managing director at theEword
SMP: How has content and search changed in the last year, what have been the main influencers?

DN: Google’s development of ‘semantic search’ technology addresses the growing tendency for people to type full questions – instead of a few related keywords – into browsers to locate the information they need. Digital marketers now have to provide answers to real questions and be more competitive about the quality of their content.

SMP: What are the high moments of what you have been doing so far?

DN: Being chosen to work on high profile campaigns. For example, we manage the digital marketing strategy for Merlin Entertainments and Visit Blackpool to help increase tourism in the town. In addition to working closely with a variety of other creative agencies on various aspects of the integrated campaign, it was satisfying to represent such an iconic brand.

SMP: What are the main social channels are you using, why and which are the most effective for theEword?

DN: For day-to-day engagement, we find that Twitter is the most effective way to reach out to peers and keep in touch with our target audience. We use LinkedIn  to maintain our company profile, recruit and network with other industry professionals because the platform’s transparency is more accessible and credible.

SMP: What sort of activity / engagement are you receiving across the social channels that you use and how do you create / sustain this?

DN: Our tweets average around 50K impressions per month, which we maintain by constantly interacting with followers and providing fresh content that is interesting and offers something of value. LinkedIn is measured more on the number and quality of followers, as engagement on this platform is typically lower, but more direct.

SMP: What do you think is going to be the most interesting aspect regarding social media, social networks and/or technology for the next 12 to 18-months and why?

theEword website image

DN: The growth of personalisation is extremely exciting, as it’s significantly improving the quality and reach of relevant content. While marketers are getting more savvy about when, where and how to target users with specific messages, individuals are becoming more selective and increasingly protective of their data.

SMP: What are your top five predictions for social media for the next 12 to 18-months (please use one to two sentences for each prediction)?

DN replies with:

  • Video. With the internet and social channels making our online world a noisier place, visual content will be key for helping businesses stand out. As well as being highly personalised, video content is also three times more likely to generate website links.

  • Growth of personalisation. As marketers continue to realise the benefits of targeting specific users with precise content, we’ll see increasingly tailored messages in our social media feeds – even down to an individual level.

  • Backlash again personalisation. Inevitably, as personalised media becomes more prevalent, concerns about the impact on privacy will increase among users.
    However, access to user information is often the price you have to pay for using ‘free’ technology and social media tools, causing many individuals to think twice about what platforms they use in the future.

  • User-generated content. From blogging to streaming, we’re seeing content production become more of an everyday activity for people online. At one time, only journalists held the power of publishing – now brands are learning how to recognise and engage with these new influential voices.

  • Acquisitions. As Amazon’s recent purchase of Twitch shows, big businesses are increasingly adopting the “if you can’t beat them, buy them” mantra in an effort to gain access to new user bases and content streams.

SMP: What are your top overall five social media tips (please use one to two sentences for each tip, or write more if you wish)?

DN replies with:

  • Know your audience. Taking the time to get familiar with the people you hope to engage with and researching their interest will make it easier to produce relevant and shareable content.

  • Understand your message. In-depth knowledge of your positioning and what differentiates you from competitors will help you create compelling content that is highly appealing to your target audience.

  • Be yourself. While positioning yourself is important, the tone of voice you use on social media channels should reflect the values of your brand. A natural approach will be more engaging and it shouldn’t be contrived or forced.

  • Use the right channels. Facebook isn’t right for everyone, nor is LinkedIn. Successful digital marketing is about identifying where your target audience spends time and creating an engaging presence there.

  • Promote your content. Don’t just use social media channels as a means of engaging in aimless chatter. Maximise your exposure by making sure you’ve got blog posts, infographics and videos that your target audience can pick up easily and share with their peers.

SMP: Is there anything else we should know, or is there anything that you’d like to share?

DN: Don’t bother spending a lot of time on social media if you’re just trying to boost SEO. It’s great for increasing your online visibility and improving engagement, but has little technical impact on your search engine rankings. You’re better off focusing on improving the quality of your web content.

SMP: Best way to contact you and theEword?

DN: Give us a call at 0808 271 6126, email us at or visit us online at

Now some questions for fun

SMP: What did you have for breakfast / lunch?

DN: I’m not much of a breakfast person, but I really like these Alpen Light Apple and Sultana bars that I found. It’s great to be able to just pick one up and run out the door with it so I can have something satisfying on the go.

SMP: What’s the last good thing that you did for someone?

DN: We’re focused on fostering the next generation of digital marketing talent at theEword and recently gave jobs to five young people as part of our agency apprenticeship programme. There’s always a demand for good candidates and by bringing in these apprentices, we’re helping them and the industry as a whole.

SMP: If you weren’t working at theEword what would you be doing?

DN: My background is originally in journalism where I covered the UK arts and music scene. If I wasn’t at theEword, I’d choose to be the online editor for Guardian Music – they have really great content.

SMP: When / where did you go on your last holiday and why?

DN: In March, my family and I went out to Spain for my sister-in-law’s wedding. She and her fiancé got married in Barcelona and we all had a great time.

SMP: What’s the first thing you do when you get into the office of a morning?

DN: We have an espresso machine in the office, so the first thing I do when I get in is make a cup of coffee. It really helps me get the day going and I’m not a fan of instant coffee in a jar.

SMP: If you had a superpower what would it be and why (I am really hoping that you don’t say flying, but we’ll see)?

DN: It would be great to be invisible, so that I could play pranks on people I know and not get caught. Or maybe the ability to travel through time – that would make it easier to place bets on football matches.

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