social media in bedfordshire

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I’ve just been doing some research for a talk I’m giving in a couple of weeks time, and I came accross a blog post dating back to 2008 from Chris Brogan. I was surprised at how relevant it still is, so, bar a few points that I think we’ve moved on from now, I’m going to share it with you…

First Steps

  1. Build an account and immediate start using Twitter Search to listen for your name, your competitor’s names, words that relate to your space. (Listening always comes first.)
  2. Add a picture. We want to see you.
  3. Talk to people about THEIR interests, too. I know this doesn’t sell more widgets, but it shows us you’re human.
  4. Point out interesting things in your space, not just about you.
  5. Share links to neat things in your community.
  6. Don’t get stuck in the apology loop. Be helpful instead.
  7. Be wary of always pimping your stuff. Your fans will love it. Others will tune out.
  8. Promote your employees’ outside-of-work stories.
  9. Throw in a few humans to interact with.
  10. Talk about non-business too.

Ideas About WHAT to Tweet

  1. Instead of answering the question, “What are you doing?”, answer the question, “What has your attention?”
  2. Have more than one twitterer at the company. People can quit. People take vacations. It’s nice to have a variety.
  3. When promoting a blog post, ask a question or explain what’s coming next, instead of just dumping a link.
  4. Ask questions. Twitter is GREAT for getting opinions.
  5. Follow interesting people. If you find someone who tweets interesting things, see who she follows, and follow her.
  6. Tweet about other people’s stuff. Again, doesn’t directly impact your business, but makes us feel like you’re not “that guy”
  7. When you DO talk about your stuff, make it useful. Give advice, blog posts, pictures, etc.
  8. Share the human side of your company. If you’re bothering to tweet, it means you believe social media has value for human connections. Point us to pictures and other human things.
  9. Don’t toot your own horn too much.
  10. Or, if you do, try to balance it out by promoting the heck out of others, too.

Some Sanity For You

  1. You don’t have to read every tweet.
  2. You don’t have to reply to every @ tweet directed to you (try to reply to some, but don’t feel guilty).
  3. Use direct messages for 1-to-1 conversations if you feel there’s no value to Twitter at large to hear the conversation.
  4. Use services like Twitter Search to make sure you see if someone’s talking about you. Try to participate where it makes sense.
  5. 3rd party clients like Hootsuite and make it a lot easier to manage Twitter.
  6. If you tweet all day while your co-workers are busy, you’re going to hear about it.
  7. If you’re representing clients and billing hours, and tweeting all the time, you might hear about it.
  8. Use the URL shortening tool that Hootsuite offers, or one like bit.ly. It helps tidy up your tweets.
  9. If someone says you’re using twitter wrong, forget it. It’s an opt out society. They can unfollow if they don’t like how you use it.
  10. Commenting on others’ tweets, and retweeting what others have posted is a great way to build community.

The Negatives People Will Throw At You

  1. Twitter takes up time.
  2. Twitter takes you away from other productive work.
  3. Without a strategy, it’s just typing.
  4. There are other ways to do this.
  5. Twitter doesn’t replace customer service, but it can complement it.
  6. Twitter’s only a few million people. (only)
  7. Twitter doesn’t replace direct email marketing.
  8. Twitter opens the company up to more criticism and griping.

Some Positives to Throw Back

  1. Twitter works well as an opinion poll. Twitter can help direct people’s attention to good things.
  2. Twitter at events helps people build an instant “backchannel.”
  3. Twitter breaks news faster than other sources, often (especially if the news impacts online denizens).
  4. Twitter brings great minds together, and gives you daily opportunities to learn (if you look for it, and/or if you follow the right folks).
  5. Twitter gives your critics a forum, but that means you can study them.
  6. Twitter helps with business development, if your prospects are online.
  7. Twitter can augment customer service.

 

You can check out the original article here.

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I’m talking about closing the sale of course. No smut on my blog!

If you have then well done you, but I imagine on most occasions it’s taken some to-ing and fro-ing. In fact there’s a generally accepted rule in marketing that says it takes seven points of contact before someone will buy from you.

What that means is your potential customer needs to see or hear your name seven times before they’ll be comfortable doing business with you. Sounds like hard work right? Or maybe not …

  •          Start  blogging
  •          Set your company up on appropriate social networking sites, e.g. Twitter, Facebook, Google+
  •          Build a targeted, relevant following
  •          Drive potential customers to your blog
  •          Make sure your blog advertises all your social media pages

Bounce potential customers from Twitter to your blog, onto Facebook, then to your website, back to your blog – you get the idea? Before you know it a handful or more of your seven points of contact are covered, so when you do speak to them, they are a much warmer lead, and may already be well on the way to having decided to do business with you.

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Happy New YearIt’s that time of year when I really feel the need to plan. Are you the same? I love making new year resolutions and I’m world class at failing to achieve most of them. But just that act of attempting them, brings you closer to your goal. What’s that saying “If you aim for the moon, even if you fail, you may land among the stars.” Well, reaching the stars would be pretty cool, so I’ll continue making new year resolutions, knowing that they’ll bring me closer to my goal, if not all the way there. So, just in case you haven’t yet made yours, I’ve planned for you too – social media style, naturally :-)

1.  Claim your usernames. Your brand is your identity in business. Even if you don’t plan on using all of them, you may change your mind in the future. By claiming them now, you’re saving yourself a lot of potential trouble in the future.

2.  Pick two or three social media sites where you know your audience is and focus on them. There are too many social media platforms to be everywhere, so schedule some time each and every day to be effective in your chosen arenas. Once you get the hang of these, you might choose to spread your wings and try some others. By the way, I do mean “schedule” some time. It’s important, so slot it in your diary just as you do other important tasks. If you leave to to chance and plan to slot it in when you have some spare time, it just won’t happen..

3.  Commit to Blogging more. It’s often hard to find the time, or indeed the motivation to blog, but really it’s just a habit that you need to form. Create a blogging callender – jot down subjects to co-incide with special days over the year ie National Day of the “whatever”, if the start of summer means that people need to stock up on one of your products, then schedule a blog around that, would your customers be interested in how to make the perfect pancake for Shrove Tuesday? You know your business, just be creative and (apologies for the phrase!) think outside the box. When you have your “special days” completed, fill in the blanks by brainstorming with your colleagues. Callender created? Now you need to schedule blogging time in your diary.

4.  Most Facebook Fans expect special offers or discounts for “liking” a brand on Facebook. What exclusive deals can you offer your fans? Again, be creative and leave them in no doubt as to why they “like” you.

5.   I’ve left this one to last, but it’s by no means the least important. Promote your social media accounts. It takes time and effort to get them working for you, so it makes sense to do the easy stuff and allow your clients and potential clients to find you. Put your social media links on all printed and digital media, including your website, customer receipts, newsletters, email signatures, business cards, headed paper, compliment slips etc as well as putting a sign up in your reception area. Social Media isn’t supposed to be a secret, so shout it from the rooftops (metaphorically speaking, says she anticipating lawsuits for broken bones!)

There you are, five, powerful, New Year Resolutions for your business. What do you think? Can you commit to Social Media to move your business forward, or does it all sound like too much effort?

Over the years I’ve learned that in order for a goal to be achieved, you have to want it, which is significantly different to knowing you “should” do it. I think most businesses are aware that they should be embracing social media, but many haven’t yet found the motivation to make it reality.

If you’re in the “want to do it” bracket, then great – good luck and give me a shout on Facebook or Twitter if I can be of any help.

If you’re in the “should do it” bracket, then can I suggest that we have a chat. I offer a fully managed service, which means that you get the benefits without having to make time to work out what to do and how to find time in your already busy day. Just pick up the phone and dial 01462 615821, for a no obligation chat to see if we could work together on your business.

 

 

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On an aeroplane you’re told that if the oxygen masks come down, you should put your own on before your children’s. As a parent, I know I’d find that extremely difficult, but I can see why it’s the right thing to do. So why is it that I find it so hard to put my needs before anybody else’s?

It’s the same in my business. I look after my client’s social media come hell or high water, it’s always mine that suffers. It’s a bit like the builder whose house is falling down around him – although, thankfully, my natural self-discipline wouldn’t allow me to get that bad!

So when I hear businesses telling me they don’t have time to “do” social media, I really do understand, but I also know how powerful it can be and that EVERY business needs to be on the social media scene if they still want to be around and trading successfully in 5 years.

To find out how I can help with your social media give me a call on 01462 615821 or email me now.

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I’m a busy lady, two children, one of which isn’t in full time school yet, numerous clubs and activites to get the children to, my Social Media business and all the usual house workey things like keeping an available stock of clean clothes and cooking proper meals for the family (yes my children do eat fishfingers, but not every night!), so I struggle as much as anyone with finding time to get things done.

The trick that I’ve tried to perfect over the years is to decide what my most important jobs are and then allocate some time to them daily, or as frequently as is necessary. For example, if I have a blog post to write, I’ll give myself half an hour of focused time for it. During that time, I won’t answer the phone or check Facebook or my emails. If I’d been attempting to multi-task, I just wouldn’t get it finished in that time. I also allocate some time to each of my clients on a daily basis, and as long as I’m strict with myself, I achieve what I set out to do.

Maybe I’m just not very good at multi-tasking? For me, it often means lots of unfinished jobs around the house, or files on my computer littered with WIP, that quite often never get completed. Maybe this means I’m in touch with my “masculine side”?

So…imagine my delight when I found this nifty on-line stopwatch  the other day?  Now I don’t even have to keep an eye on my watch as a buzzer will tell me when my time is up and it’s on to the next task! Such a simple thing! If you’re struggling with too much to do in too little time, why not give my idea a try?

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I think it’s fair to say that industrial manufacturing companies haven’t yet jumped, en masse, into the social media arena. Some are using it and it’s working very nicely for them, but I think a lot of companies are still sceptical and are sitting on the side lines, watching, a bit like many did when the internet boom first started over 10 years ago.

As with the internet, it was the early adopters who had massive success, which leaves you in a unique position now. Get involved, set the standard and reap the rewards, or spend years wishing you’d got involved at the outset.

Google makes a fortune from its “pay per click” advertising, because most people who use the internet use Google to find what they want. I’m sure that’s no surprise to you. But did you know that Facebook gets more page views per month than Google, and Twitter isn’t far behind?

The role of internet marketers is to increase traffic to their client’s website. So if several of the world’s most visited websites are already allowing people to use their sites freely to guide people to specific websites, why wouldn’t you take advantage of it?

Google now recognise Tweets in their organic results – and high up, too. There are hundreds of thousands of Twitter profiles showing on page 1 of Google for valuable keyword terms. Google also allows Facebook profiles and commercial “pages” to rank as well.

In short, these social media sites are SEO friendly, they love fresh content and allow you to post virtually anything you want at any time. Social media and SEO work well together, like strawberries and cream. Either are fine on their own, but put them together and something magical happens!

I recently read a report from Global Spec entitled “Social Media Use in the Industrial Sector” which stated that industrial customers are generally passive in social media. They’re reading, but not getting into conversations, nonetheless they’re involved, and perhaps, you should be too. Click through for GLOBALSPEC’s full report

 

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People often ask me why anyone would hire a Social Media Manager, when they could do it themselves. Running a good, effective, interesting social media campaign isn’t rocket science, but there is more to it than setting up a profile and putting out the odd advertisement tweet. To do it properly takes time, imagination, research and a love of the whole social media scene. Do it half heartedly and you may as well not bother.

I believe that everyone in business has their own talents, and that’s what they should concentrate on. If you’re a really effective financial advisor, then spend your time advising people and making money for your clients and your business. If you’re a creative type, spend your time creating, because you probably hate doing your accounts!

As consumers, we’re quite used to contracting out work. Every time you pick up that takeaway coffee, you’ve outsourced some work. With every pack of pre-washed salad leaves that you buy, you’ve paid someone to do the growing, harvesting, washing, packing, distribution and a lot of other things besides…

Hiring a Social Media Manager is no different to this. A lot of large companies will have a full time social media manager strategising and implementing their social media marketing plan, and ensuring their on-line presence is positive. They recognise that they will be talked about on-line, but if they aren’t a part of this on-line social experience, they don’t have a chance to manage their reputation. Luckily for businesses who don’t want to do this in-house, there are a number of Social Media Managers that you can contract out to.

This expertise doesn’t have to cost the earth. The way I work is to find out about your business and really understand the way your company operates. Although I don’t work in your company, I need to understand in order to be your “voice” on the social media stage. I establish what your business goals are and then work out a plan in order to help you achieve them, within any budget constraints that you have.

If you want to find out more about me to see if we could work together, do have a look around my web-site and get in touch.

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I grew up in the 70’s and 80’s. When I was 14, my brother bought a hand held CB radio and I was instantly hooked! I quickly progressed to a more powerful radio and spent hours and hours chatting to my friends and making new ones. On several occasions I remember chatting to people late at night, only to wake several hours later with just a crackling radio for company – the person I’d been talking too, had given up on me long ago.

But how much better is social media? Instead of being limited to within my hometown (I think rose tinted glasses may be at play here – my signal probably didn’t reach further than a few hundred metres, despite the enormous aerial in my parents back garden!) now the world is your oyster…

We can build relationships with people on the other side of the world, find people that we lost touch with years ago, and link up with people that we don’t yet know, but who have the same interests as us. This is far removed from the random chats with random people that I had on my CB. Some business’s have embraced social media fully, and are reaping the rewards. Others have dipped a toe in and would like to do more, but don’t have the knowledge or the resources. There are of course some who still don’t even have a web-site!

As I’m writing this, it’s occurred to me that some of my old CB friends are also my facebook friends. Who would have thought that friendships forged on the CB would still be going strong some 25 years later!

I wonder what social networking will be like in another 25 years. It quite obviously has a greater mainstream longevity than CB radio. I believe we’re still in the early stages, with many companies yet to engage fully and exploit it to the maximum. The next few years are going to see massive growth, and personally, I’m ready and waiting to ride this roller coaster called Social Media.

One of the questions I get asked all the time is, does social media really work? Can it bring me new customers and more business?

The answer, for the majority of businesses in the UK (there will always be a few exceptions!) is undoubtedly YES!

However, I heard a great story just the other day which really highlights the potential and power of social media. This particular anecdote concerns Twitter.

There’s a very successful UK entrepreneur called Nigel Botterill. Nigel has built five separate million pound plus businesses in the last five years so, he knows a lot about what it takes to build businesses fast. He was one of the first business people to properly understand the potential and power of social media and he has driven literally hundreds of thousands of people to his websites and generated tens of thousands of pounds of revenue directly through social media over the last few months.

However, the story I heard last week is very powerful. Nigel was running a Boot Camp to train potential franchisors, i.e. people that wanted to franchise their business, over two days at his head offices in Solihull. Tickets cost over £2,000 and the event was fully booked.

On the Sunday evening before the event, Nigel put a Tweet out on Twitter that said, “Really looking forward to my Franchisors Boot Camp tomorrow – off for an early night to make sure I’m on top form (hopefully)”.

Now, this is not one of the most insightful Tweets you will ever see(!) but, what happened next is fascinating and illustrates really well the power of Twitter. One “follower” of Nigel is a guy called Jat Mann who runs a business called PC Pal. Jat has recently franchised his business out and when he saw this Tweet from Nigel (at 9.00pm on a Sunday evening don’t forget) it was the first he knew about Nigel’s Boot Camp. He was very keen to get a place so he tweeted back to Nigel asking for more information. Unfortunately, Nigel had gone offline so Jat jumped on the internet and started filling in every email form he could find on all of Nigel’s websites. One of those emails got picked up by one of Nigel’s colleagues who called Nigel at home at 10.15pm on a Sunday evening to ask whether he would accept another person on his Franchisors Boot Camp.

Long story short, Jat turned up at Nigel’s offices on the Monday morning at 8.30am, paid his £2k plus on credit card and joined the Boot Camp.

The point of this story is to illustrate the ability that Twitter has to generate business and, what’s great about this particular anecdote is that it is completely ring fenced, nothing else was at play here – just Twitter.

Now, it would be easy to dismiss this story as an isolated incident – “Oh, Nigel got lucky!” However, that would be to overlook the platform that had been built over the previous months. Nigel has a large number of followers on Twitter and Jat was one of those people. Nigel engages with his audience on Twitter all the time. Consequently, he is seen as being interesting and interested and, so relationships are forged.

When Nigel launches new products or has new initiatives he is able to let his followers know about these things in the right way, at the right time and a heck of a lot of business gets done as a result.

This kind of platform and access to this community is available to you too – IF you use social media properly.

If you need any help in this regard…..then you know where to come!

For sixty years after the Second World War if you were a local business there were only really three things you had to do to market yourself effectively. Life was very straightforward. You took the biggest ad you could afford in Yellow Pages, relied a lot on word of mouth and, if you were very ambitious or a little bit flash(!), then you took an ad out in the local newspaper.

That was pretty much all you had to worry about as far as marketing was concerned.

Oh how times have changed.

Yellow Pages are dying now. They are getting thinner every year, fewer and fewer people are using them and, within the next five to ten years the old printed yellow books will have disappeared altogether.

Right across the country local newspapers are seeing circulation fall and, each month, different titles are shutting down the presses and going out of business.

And, of course, society has become much more transient and mobile than it ever was in the ‘good old days’. Neighbourhood communities are now a real rarity for most people.

For businesses right across the country this has forced a seismic shift in the way they market and promote themselves. New, all encompassing, marketing services like thebestof have come from nowhere to provide a myriad of different services to businesses. The internet is now an integral part of the fabric of modern life and, within that, social media has emerged to fulfil the role of 21st Century word of mouth.

If you think about it, that’s all social media is, word of mouth.

People sharing with other people (some whom they know and others who they don’t know) what they think about things and places, what they’re doing right now and what they are planning to do.

The fact is, that wherever you live in the country, within a few miles of where you are right now there will be thousands of people online, right this minute, on social media sites. Whether it’s Twitter, Facebook or Linked-In, the reality is that these people, in your area, are using social media today. It’s where the people are. And that’s why, if you are a business then you have to be in this space as well and you can’t do it just by buying an ad or writing a cheque.

You have to engage and get involved.

You have to continually update and input.

It’s not difficult and, when you do it right, it can be even more powerful than word of mouth was in the old days because social media allows everybody to communicate with everybody else – and people do.

You don’t really have a choice as to whether you get involved with social media or not – only when. It’s beginning to transform the way people do business in the UK and the opportunities for those businesses sharp enough to see that and adapt to it is immense.

If you would like help with your social media strategy then we’d be delighted to oblige. We understand this stuff, we’re good at it and we love to make it happen. Happy to have a chat – call us on 01462 615821.