Tuesday, 16 October 2012

Have you got aim?

I regularly hear from people that they haven't got time to be on social media, or that it doesn't apply to them. 

I've written before about choosing the right platform for your business, it's true that each platform suits different business models better, but it's important to be on all platforms to maximise your visibility. I truly believe that all businesses can use social media as part of their marketing strategy, it's just about finding the right method.

When it comes to spending time on social media, if you are targeted and specific/relevant to your business you will have success. Don't get me wrong. Don't brag about how great you are and shout buy my stuff, let other people do that. Inform people about your area of business. Ie share some relevant blogs or articles from your industry. Demonstrate your knowledge. 

If you use automation, make it chatty as well as informative about you and your services and your industry. Make sure your content is relative to your business. Make sure the right people are hearing what you've got to say. 

Instead of ignoring businesses similar to yours, build relationships with them. Retweet them occasionally, you never know there may be an opportunity to work together or to refer each other. 

Before you start posting, decide what you want to achieve from social media. If you have a goal to work towards, your posts will be much more targeted, and you are more likely to get a positive relevant response. 

Having an effective social media strategy is vital in maximising your time on social media. For my clients I not only write thstrategies, but I also include an action sheet for them to follow, so they know what to do daily, weekly, bi- weekly and monthly. 

The biggest thing to remember about social media, which I say time and time again, is it's a marathon not a sprint, and you need to put the time in to build the relationships and it will take time to get the sales, but once they start happening you will see a dramatic increase in them, so keep going!

Having an effective social media strategy is vital in maximising your time on social media. For my clients I not only write their strategies, but I also include an action sheet for them to follow, so they know what to do daily, weekly, bi- weekly and monthly. 

My Guide To Writing A Social Media Strategy is nearly finished, I'll let you know when it's ready for sale! In the meantime, you can now do social media workshops for just £20pp, check out my website for more information!

Thursday, 23 August 2012

Is the time right?

You know what they say about sales/comedy/business/life and just about anything else you can think of, it's all about timing.

The same is for Social Media. It's ALL about timing, well, okay not all, but it's pretty high on the list of things to get right!

I keep seeing people posting tweets/facebook updates at midnight and later. I might be seeing them, but there's not many other people who are as  insomniac as me, and unless you're targeting the American Market, there's very little point having tweets etc going out that late. I would also think that it would be really obvious that they're auto tweets, which people naturally filter out when they're reading through any of the social media platforms.

So, what's the best time for you to be posting? Well, you need to think about a couple of things.

1. Who is your target Market?

2. Which is their most populated platform?

3. Where are your competition posting?

4. Are they getting successful engagement?

And the most important thing:

5. What time are they likely to be on social media?

Let's take an example target group. Stay at home mothers of school age children. Age bracket 30-40 years old.

Ok, so, they're more likely to be on facebook than twitter or google plus, and highly unlikely to be on LinkedIn.

If you're a parent, you know how manic mornings can be, you know that you hardly have a  minute to breathe, let alone look at a computer/phone/ipad to check who's up to what before you've got them delivered to school.

Therefore, there's  little point in posting a lot of content before 8.30am. If you were using twitter, I would suggest you post a couple of tweets between 6.30 and 8, but for Facebook, you need to be very careful how often you update your page, so I would wait until the time is right.

You could wait until about 11am when most people sit down for a coffee and if they're like me, a biscuit, or just before school kick out time, when they might be waiting in the car for the bell to ring. If you're using twitter, I would aim for a tweet to go out at all those times.

Then, in the evening, there's no point posting until around 7, when Mum is (hopefully for them) sat down with a glass of wine having a catch up on facebook.

My point is this. You have to put yourself in your target market's shoes. Think about their lifestyle, and when they are most likely to be having a look at their computer or phone. Have a look at what works, and what doesn't work for your competitors and you can capitalise on that.

**edit** Thanks to Kevin for sending me the link to www.tweriod.com, which is a fab tool that tells you what time your users are twitter!

What you actually post is a whole mother kettle of fish, and one we can talk about another time.

****If you have found this blog helpful, please leave a comment, and you may be interested to know that I will soon be selling a social media template to help you construct your own campaigns. please email info@adoresocialmedia.co.uk****

Wednesday, 18 July 2012

Catching Big Fish

I've gone back on my word. It's not something I often do, but sometimes you have to listen to what a collective are saying, when they are saying similar things.

I want my Social Media Consultancy Business to move forward, and to make that happen, I want to start working with bigger companies. I am not ashamed of the fact that I am, at the moment, a one woman band, and as an SME, I have always believed that I should be visible as the person behind my social media. I still think that to a certain degree, but as more and more of my friends become twitter addicts, the level of chat (on twitter primarily) has got to a point where it outweighs my social media input/discussions.

So I've done what I never said I would do, I've set up a personal twitter account. I kind of hate myself for it, but taking advice from the excellent Simon Deacy who is a business consultant with Simway Business Solutions, I have come to understand that big companies I approach will most likely look at my social media streams, and if it's full of chat with my friends rather than social media tips tricks and advice, it misrepresents my level of professionalism.

That's not to say I'm not going to chat with people and get involved in silly discussions, my twitter stream isn't about to become a mass of hashtags with articles from Mashable, or other relevant websites. There might be a few that I think people will find helpful, but I'm not going to bombard you with them!

It is after all, still social media, and I still believe in my roots, that people buy from people, I just don't need potential clients seeing photos of my son necessarily (unless they're taken by other people and are super cute!) or seeing me check into the Lime Tree for a friday lunch etc.

I've always taken the attitude that I don't care what people think, but I want to present myself well, I am good at what I do, and I love it, and I don't want a silly tweet here and there to ruin that impression! Basically, if you want to catch the big fish, you can't behave like small fry.

What do you think? Does the way you behave on your business account reflect well on you professionally?

If you still want to hear my waffle you can follow me on @iSilverLining xx

Thursday, 21 June 2012

RIP Facebook?

It's been my belief for about 6 months that facebook is on it's way to the Social Media graveyard to hang out with My Space. I hear people saying that they don't think Google + has legs, but I disagree on a monumental scale. 
For me, Google+ combines all the best bits about the different social media platforms. For example, the ability to add people into your circles, or be added, as you would follow or be followed on twitter; or the business page capability on facebook/linkedin. I think it's taken a happy medium between the 3 biggies (facebook, twitter and LinkedIn) and as a result is luring me away from facebook more and more.
So. I have 2 different accounts on facebook, one for friends and family, and one for business associates. I know I could implement the list functionality, but to be honest, I forget half the time, and I don't want business associates seeing photos of me on a night out or my 4 year old son (beautiful as he may be!).
But quite honestly, everyone has got into a habit of posting arbitrary rubbish on facebook, or linking their twitter account to their facebook account, or twitter to linkedin. These actions break my golden rules! I hate seeing one side of a conversation, it feels like I'm eavesdropping! 
The beauty of google plus, so far, and as far as I'm aware, you can't feed any other platform into it automatically. (feel free to correct me) However, you can integrate your twitter timeline into your google plus dashboard using something such as Google+Tweet, although it seems fairly unreliable. 
What do you think? When I go into G+, I instantly feel more chilled out and zen, and given this image, it's no coincidence! 

So what do you think? This wasn't meant to be a G+ broadcast, but it's kind of turned out that way, sorry! 

Thursday, 7 June 2012

Which buttons do you press?

People ask me all the time whether I've used this or that website, this or that piece of software.

Generally, and sometimes a bit embarrassingly, I haven't. Sometimes I haven't even heard of them. Should I confess that though, I'm met with the most horrified of faces.

But that's ok, because whilst they're so caught up in the technology, and what buttons to press, I'm busy pushing people's buttons, not websites.

You see, to get social media right, in my opinion, you have to focus on behaviour. Technology is the smallest part of it. It's tiny weeny. Don't get me wrong, it's useful, but it shouldn't be your biggest concern, you'll learn as you go along, or by asking questions.

I teach my 121 clients about the technology side of it, but really, they come to me because they want to build relationships, and learn how to make money from it. Telling the what buttons to push on a website isn't going to get them very far.

Next time you're tweeting for your business, imagine you were reading it. How would you react to it? Remember that sadly, nobody is as interested in your business as you.

Are you being too pushy? Are you trying to sell too much? Put yourself in your readers shoes, and then you will easily see what buttons to push.

Tuesday, 22 May 2012

Facebook pages!

Goodness me! I've woken up to some serious social media stuff this morning!

So Facebook have had a pages app available in New Zealand for a little while now, and I've been SO jealous!

In my job, I run a lot of facebook pages, and recently I've been struggling to keep up with things, because you don't get the full functionality by using the Facebook app.

So imagine my delight when I open up my Facebook app this morning, and I've got the option to download the Pages App. YES PLEASE!

I've already had a look, and so far so good! Facebook are known for their app being a bit rubbish, so it will be interesting to see how it behaves over the next few days!

Happy playing everyone, feel free to let us know how you get on with it too!

Monday, 21 May 2012

I ❤ twitter!

Oh twitter! You're so brilliant! Nevermind that you randomly unfollow my best friends now and again!

Why am I loving twitter? Well, they want to help us! Twitter have released a guide for small businesses. This is very exciting, especially as the US have had one for a while!

I haven't read it yet, but I wanted to share it with you immediately, so here it is:


(you will have to copy and paste, I'm blogging from my phone which won't let me attach a link. Weird)

I'll be back to discuss it with you soon! Happy reading! X

Friday, 18 May 2012

The Good, The Bad and The Ugly Social Media Apps

Everyone who knows me knows I'm a complete and total Apple Addict. Whilst I use my macbook for setting up client stuff and the likes, I run most of my social media through my iPhone or iPad.

My friend Maz Hawes of Light and Day Photography is the app queen, and always introduces me to new apps, especially when they concern social media. Seriously, this woman is an app machine, she refused to tell me how much she spends on apps a month, but needless to say, she's also addicted, but on another level to me!

It got me thinking.....there's loads and loads of apps for social media, but which ones are the best? Obviously this is totally subjective, and you may disagree, but these are the ones I love, wish were better, and I really really dislike!

The Good:

1. Tweetbot. (£1.99)

This is the one that got me thinking about the apps. It's beautiful. I've yet to learn enough about it, but its intuitiveness, its simplicity and its interface are just fantastic. It seems totally in tune with Apple products and I love it. I know it's £1.99, but just buy it, you'll soon see why, it's so lovely and beautiful, you will see why it's my number 1!

2. Flipboard (free)

I have mixed feelings about Flipboard. I really love the interface, I love the way it looks, but I just can't quite get to grips with it. It's not my go to app, it's more something I use to show other people the functionality of the iPad. Those that do get it rave about it, so I'm obviously missing something, which is why it's one of the good ones!

3. Lazy Unfollow (69p)  and Unfollow (free)

They aren't very pretty, and it's a bit slow, but it's one of the most useful tools I use when it comes to sorting out my twitter follows. There is a warning involved though! Please please don't use the shoutout tool! Either you will swamp your stream with thanks to people, (I made this mistake, my followers weren't happy!) or by saying who unfollowed you, you basically are telling the whole of twitter you've been dumped, and they will wonder why they're following you too!

4. Foursquare. (free)

People ask me what 4square is all the time. Basically, it's a game, that harnesses my competitive nature and let's my twitter or Facebook followers/friends know where I am (which can be a bit weird but more of that later). The app itself is lovely, its beautifully made, and easy to navigate. I only wish it would know your twitter friends so tagging was easier.

5. Instagram

Apart from selling out to Facebook, do I really need to explain this one?!?!

The Bad:

1. Hootsuite (free for basic use)

I love love love hoot suite on my laptop. I love it, I wouldn't be without it. It helps me manage at least 20 accounts in various locations (twitter, Facebook, linkedin) it does all sorts of amazing things, and I couldn't be a bigger fan. I have been certified hootsuite professional for some time now, so I can share it's beauty with other people.


The iPhone and iPad app is, in my opinion, rubbish. I much prefer the pre installed apps, and they manage all my accounts perfectly well. I really wish hoot suite would sort this out, as  I miss it when I'm not near the laptop!

Having said that, Michelle Dalley of Creating Media loves it, but then, she says she won't try anything else because she doesn't like change! Maybe I'll shame her into it now!

2. LinkedIn (free)

Oh LinkedIn....I don't really like you at the best of times...I mean, you've got your place, and I know you're necessary, but the app just doesn't cut it IMO. I can do a few bits and pieces, and it looks reasonably smart, but it's slow and irritating. There's no intuitive feel to it, and as a creative person this makes me lose interest immediately.  Cardmunch on the other hand, is fantastic! It saves me a lot of time and is the only reason I persevere with LinkedIn!

3. Facebook for Iphone (free)

Ugh! They just won't stop messing about with the app! I hate updating it, because you don't know what's going to go wrong on it when you do! You can't share statuses, photos or anything else, which is really irritating when you're out and about. It's slow, doesn't load my stream half the time, it's push notifications are rubbish, and when you're worth billions of dollars, there's no excuse! Sort it out! I don't bother with the messenger app, so if you do, I would love to hear your thoughts!

The Ugly

1. Google +

Google + I love you SO much, you will one day make LinkedIn obsolete, I wonder if Facebook are floating now because they recognise you've numbered their days. I know people are being slow to get to grips with you, and whilst we early adopters luxuriate in your oversubscribed but under used pool, one day you will dominate all. Your use of subscribers information to influence SEO will soon make people realise how important it is to be active on there.


Your app is rubbish!! Fair enough, the recent update made it a much more pleasant place to be, but oh my goodness, how many times do we have to ask for you to include business pages and the administration of???! Please please sort it out. Once you do that, we will all be a lot more active whilst we try to boost our business position on google rankings. Using the app on an iPad is completely pointless, so I'm not going to bother even talking about it, just please sort it out!

You're the only one on my list because I really need you to take notice, please please please google. sort it asap! Maybe it's because you're flawed that I love you so much. Maybe it's because it's where my friends hang out most. I don't know, but I know I need you to get the app sorted.

Wednesday, 16 May 2012

Who will win?! Social media competitions.

It used to be that you would say 'like my page to win X' and the power of social media would take hold and the page would win likes.

I did this with my own business, Go Fudge Yourself, a fudge company I run with someone else. I managed to get 700 or so likes within a week, just by saying I would give away a box of fudge for every 100 likers I got.

Sadly,  Facebook changed the rules, or I was made aware of them by the wonderful Veronica Pullen, another Social Media Consultant, she then posted a blog about the change here: Facebook Promotions

So, the question becomes how do you get the likes? In my opinion, Facebook have done this so we have to rely on adverts to promote our pages. Not everyone wants to do adverts, and I don't blame you. Having been playing around with them myself recently, I've found that I'm spending money on something that's not really getting anywhere, unless I set a big daily budget, which is unaffordable.

Facebook likes can be generated a number of ways.

First of all, ask all your friends to like your page, their friends may then see that (if they've not changed their privacy settings) and be interested in your page.

Then, get on twitter, ask people to like your page, but not in a needy way, tell them there's more information on your Facebook page, or how to enter the competition on your Facebook page.

For my clients, I set them up a tab using mail chimp and ask their likers to enter their details in order to be entered in the competition.

The next thing to consider is Twitter competitions. I don't really like them. I think twitter is the wrong place for competitions unless you're a big brand, who people are following simply because they're interested in Tresemme hair products. It's a bit cooler on twitter, you don't ask someone to follow you, because it's like going up to the cool kid in the playground and asking them to be your friend. It's a bit weird!

When it comes to twitter, you will get followers by engaging with people and listening.

Going back to Facebook, I find the rules a little bit ambiguous. I'm not stupid, I've got a law degree, and I should be able to decipher whether or not I've broken the rules, but I don't know! I've just shared on one of my pages the option of 'sharing the status' to be entered into the competition. Who knows if I'll get told off by Facebook, I once got told off when I was running the cupcake company because I posted a picture of a cupcake with a willy on top! I guess only time will tell, and hopefully I won't have done!

Friday, 20 April 2012

The Numbers Game

Oooo I think this one might create a little bit of controversy, but I'm gonna do it anyway!

I keep seeing things on twitter from people saying that when it comes to followers, it's quality, not quantity. As far as I'm concerned, that's rubbish.

Social Media is all about engaging with people, on whatever level that may be. Having 200 followers, means you are only engaging with 200 people. Having 2000 followers means your reach is a lot further. I want lots of followers, not because I want to look popular, but because I want to reach as many people as I can.

Don't get me wrong, I don't mean I want to shout buy my stuff at them all the time, but if I've got 2000 followers, and I ask a question which requires an opinionated answer, then I'm much more likely to get a reliable reflection of a majority opinion. (does that make sense!?)

Also, as in face to face networking, when you are talking to someone on twitter, Facebook or google +, you have absolutely no idea who they are connected to. That's the beauty of it! The more people you follow, and the more people who follow you, the broader your snapshot of a worldwide conversation will be.

Another thing that occurs to me, is that as I keep saying, it's social networking, not business networking, you shouldn't be limiting yourself only to people you think will buy stuff off you, it doesn't work like that, and that attitude will only lead you to disinterest, you'll get bored, and then you will stop tweeting, and miss a huge marketing forum. It will also turn people off you.

I love love love following new people, and chatting to them, finding out what they're into and what makes them tick! I don't really care if they buy my stuff or book on my courses. Obviously I do share links to my courses etc, but I'm always pretty shocked when they do, and they do, because I'm not shouting buy my stuff. Sales will happen naturally from referrals, if you engage with people.

For me relationships with people are one of the things that intrigues me and makes me tick. I follow everyone and anyone that interests me, because they do just that!

Don't be elitist when it comes to twitter, don't be focused on selling, let it happen naturally, by engaging with people from all walks of life, you are increasing your reach, and you will most likely learn something from them.

Enjoy the process of conversing and getting to know people, it's the whole point!

Tuesday, 20 March 2012

But Who the Hell are YOU!?

When I follow or connect with someone on twitter, I want to look at their bio so I can see more about them.

I've seen some really funny ones out there, and I wish my brain worked that far out of the box, but it doesn't. In some ways I'm glad, because by saying something like 'flying pink unicorns across the rainbow' or 'I'm just me' doesn't help me know whether I want to connect with you, or whether I can trust you.

With the rise in 'trolling' and the potential for meeting an unsavoury character through social media, we're all more and more aware of security. I know a fair few people who have had to protect their accounts because of people 'stalking' them through twitter. I myself have considered it because of somebody jumping on all the conversations I have with people and trying to 'steal' any business connections.

I refuse to however, as an aside, I fully believe in Karma, and by behaving in a devious way will only come back on you. And as I have said before, you have to be accessible, and protecting my account won't allow that.

Anyway, what I'm interested in is the 160 characters you've got to tell the world who you are and what you do. It's not easy to get your message across, and I change mine quite regularly. Social Media is all about engaging and listening, and your bio is one of the things that should be the first port of call for engagement. So here you go, this is how I formulate my bio:

I think about these 3 things, and try and write with them in mind.

1. This is my business,
2. This is my personality,
3. This is my interest outside work

My bio currently says:

I specialise in Social Media for small businesses. I'm a single mum of a 4 year old, an addict in recovery, and Ops for #4N Chepstow

I hope it gives people a flavour of me as well as my business, it should say I'm responsible, but I'm also human, and like you probably have, I've faced some hurdles along the way.

Try writing your new bio today, and send me a tweet so I can have a look!!!

Thanks for reading,

Helen xx

Monday, 19 March 2012

Shall I give you a good Klout?

I started using twitter about 2 and a half years ago. I never really got the purpose of Klout. In fact, I hated it really. I felt it was judgemental and pointless. I mean, how can it really work?

Then I started Adore Social Media, and got myself trained as a Hootsuite professional. Then I saw what Klout can do. You can use it to save streams and filter who you want to listen to talking about the keyword you've chosen.

For example, I chose 'social media' and saved it in a hoot suite search. I can then filter this stream, so I can only see people with a Klout score over 50 (e.g.) who are talking about it.

The Klout score measures their influence, not their ability. And therein lies the problem. What if you're just starting out in your chosen field, and you're really really good at it, but not that many people are talking to you, or listening to you yet? Your Klout score goes up the more you influence people with higher scores, so it can take a while to build it.

The problem is, I can't ignore it, I have to partake, because other people lend so much weight to it. So I have to make sure I'm talking about social media etc to keep it up and I have to make sure I engage enough, to keep it up. Fortunately, I do all that naturally, so I don't need to think about it at all, but what if I didn't? It's so damn elitist, separating people into groups or classes yet again. Maybe that's just human nature; to pigeon hole everyone, and find out where they fit?

So, I've not really thought about it to much, if you're engaged and using social media the way you should, it will go up anyway, but my thought on the subject is, who cares about a number? Why should we worry what it is? Just talk to each other as is the point of social media, and you will soon work out who is and isn't worth talking to!

If we all stop caring about Klout, maybe those that put so much weight on it will be able to let it go. Although there is something kind of addictive in getting it higher and higher, and I've got to admit, I was a little bit pleased when I checked and it was 61.



Sunday, 18 March 2012

A picture says 140 Characters

So. Your picture. Is it really you? Would I recognise you if I saw you in the street? Let's be honest, we're all vain, we all want to look our absolute best possible, but if it looks nothing like you, then the first impression you make meeting someone in real life will be 'oh. They don't look like their photo' rather than 'awesome, I've been looking forward to meeting you'.

I spoke yesterday about names. I said that you needed to embrace the fact that you are a small business, and that you have the ability to give a better customer service than a big companies. That you shouldn't hide behind the 'wall' of your brand.

That means, basically, use your own photo, not your logo. Be YOU, not a logo, allow people to feel they are connecting with you, not your company. Leave the logo on your website, where it belongs! Ask Michelle Dalley of Creating Media what happened when she changed her photo from a logo into a photo of herself. You can find her on twitter @creatingmedia or @missdalley.

So. Rules for your photo to think about when taking it, or if possible having it taken (mine was done by the fabulous Maz Hawes of Light and Day Photography or @lightndayphoto on twitter.

1. Most photos are viewed on a handheld device. I was following someone for 2 years before I clicked on her photo. What I thought was a flower was actually her in a dress. Because it was so full length it didn't shrink well to fit the avatar space.

2. Make sure it's just you in the photo. If there's more than one of you, how is anyone supposed to know which is you?

3. Don't use 'sexy' photos. This is meant to be representing your business. I don't want to see you in a sexy pose, I won't take you seriously. Those awful pictures taken from above giving hideous come hither eyes into the camera are such a turn off. They're AWFUL and not professional. I want to do business with you, not go to bed with you!

4. Smile! I hate my smile, I hate my smile even more in photos, I was cajoled and teased into smiling for Maz, and actually in the end, because they were natural smiles and laughs, I am happy with them. It's welcoming for people flicking through, and immediately gives off a warmth.

5. What's in the background? Where are you? If you have a tree coming out of your head, or a rail running through it, it's going to look weird. If you're in a bar or somewhere distinguishably casual, again it doesn't say 'professional'.

It may well be social media, as I keep saying, but if you are representing your business as well as yourself, you need to think carefully about what image you are portraying, and as we are such visual creatures, you need to make sure the first thing we see isn't of you and your friends doing sexy pouts into the camera in a bar. Or worse, a logo!

Happy tweeting, sorry for being so bossy! xxxx

Saturday, 17 March 2012

What's In A Name?

A rose by any other name may well still smell as sweet, but when it comes to your Twitter account, it's important to make sure your name is relevant and describes you well.

When I approach clients about their twitter accounts, the first thing we discuss is name. What are you telling your client from your twitter name? Usually people see your twitter name from a retweet or mention, so you need to make sure it's right.

Wherever possible, you should use your real name. If it's already taken, or like mine it's too long, you need to find something appropriate, so here are a few things to think about when you're choosing.

1. If you're running a small business, people buy from you partly because they want to support small businesses and they like the personal touch. Therefore, your twitter name should reflect you and be personal. So, my twitter name is @AdoreSocialM but I have also got my full name on my profile page, so people know it's me they are talking to.

2. If you look at my handle, I use capital letters to differentiate between the 3 words. Incidentally, I couldn't have @adoresocialmedia because it's one character too long. When I don't use capital letters it takes longer for your brain to break up the words, and therefore understand what I do. It's up to you which you use, so don't worry about it too much,

3. Look at it from every angle. Who Represents becomes whorepresents if you don't employ the capital letter rule! (btw, this was used by one company as their web address, awkward!)

4. Try to avoid using underscores. They make it difficult to spell out verbally when talking to people. Well, that's what one person says. I'm not convinced, I am a bit of a grammar fiend, so I quite like the aesthetic of the space. I don't like one at the end, but in the middle and only using one is fine.

So there you go, that's all I can think of at the moment. The main thing to think about is making yourself accessible. If you brand your account as the face of the company like Marks and Spencer's might do, you put up a wall, and make yourself inaccessible. Embrace the fact you're a small business and you have the ability to give your customers one to one attention, that you are accessible. That after all is the beauty of being small!

Give me a call if you've got anymore questions! 07907 824728

Helen x

Wednesday, 14 March 2012

How very dare you!

Over the last few weeks, I've been trying to build my twitter followers on my new account for this business. People who say to me quality over quantity have a point, but I argue that you don't know who anyone knows, and the more people you are talking to, the more people are talking about you.

Anyway, in order to build connections, I've been following people I believe are relevant to my business, and have increased my followers to nearly 1500 in the space of 4 weeks.

The reason I'm telling you all this is because I was stunned, absolutely shocked how many people are using auto DM's, and my absolute biggest bugbear of all time, TrueTwit. If you're using that, then you truly are a twit!

You see, the thing about Auto DM's and TrueTwit are, they're rude. Imagine if you went to a face to face networking event, and you went and introduced yourself:

You: 'Hello, I'm Helen from Adore Social Media'.

You would walk away wouldn't you? You would be offfended and turned off, and make your excuses and leave straight away wouldn't you?

That's what an auto DM does. It makes people feel undervalued, and just there to be sold at. It's the call centre equivalent of 'your call is important to us, please hold the line.' You know it's not that important, you know they don't really care how long you've been waiting, and how frustrated does that make you feel?

As for TrueTwit, well. Imagine this scenario:

You: 'Hello, I'm Helen from Adore Social Media'
Them: Or rather their assistant: 'Hi, I'm sorry, but so and so can't talk to you until we've done a full CRB check on you. Please fill out this form and wait there whilst we determine whether you are a threat or not.'

Yet again you would run a mile!

So, please please please don't use them! AutoDM = AutoUnfollow in my book, I want to speak to you, I want to get to know you, and then maybe I'll have a look at what you actually do, and then I might even buy some stuff! As for TrueTwit, if you can't work out whether I'm a bot or not, you need my services!! ;-)

Happy Tweeting all! xxx

Friday, 24 February 2012

Are you socially awkward? Where do you fit in?

There was some discussion on twitter the other day about what platform should be used for what, in reference to small businesses.

There is no doubt that some mediums better serve either the business to consumer (b2c) or the business to business (b2b) organisations, but where does yours fit in?

For two and a half years, I have run my own b2c businesses through social media. I have used both Facebook and twitter to expand and grow my 'reach' and have found both are very different for my purposes.

On Facebook, it was a place to leave photos and messages, and whilst I communicated with customers, it would normally be a point of contact leading to an email or phone conversation.

On Twitter, I would build relationships with people, and make sales through the medium rather than over the phone or through email.

The question is, which do I think is better for my business?

The answer is neither.

The question should be, which is better for my customer?

Each medium attracts very different personality types.

Twitter is faster moving and should not be relied on for people to say 'oooo isn't your cupcake pretty?' But for people to say 'how much is your cupcake, and where can I buy one?'

Facebook allows people to digest the information placed in front of them. It is a place where you can pitch and let people have a think.

Both Facebook and twitter are vital for all businesses, as you want to be accessible to all people. Don't you?

If you would like any further help with your social media please don't hesitate to call me. 07907 824728

Thursday, 16 February 2012

My Top Tips for Running your Social Media.

I keep hearing from people that Social Media isn't working for them, that they're not getting enough business from it. So here are some of my top tips for making it work.

1. Listen

It's not all about you! On your personal profile on Facebook you are free to make it all about you. Rant, Rave, spill your guts and garnish as much sympathy as you want. 


Listen to what you customers want. That's what social media is all about, listening. Use it to gauge a reaction, ask opinions, tell people you follow you're sorry if they're having a bad day. 

Moaning about having to stay up late to work, or telling your clients things have gone wrong, is not going to make them want to buy off you!

I do use Twitter to vent sometimes, but I never rant about my work, it's professional suicide!

2. Use a photo of you.

Nothing puts a follower off like an Egg or a Question Mark. Even a logo isn't a great option. If you are an SME, you need to identify with your followers. Your photo should be representative and appropriate. We all want the best possible photo, but you need to make sure it looks like you. 

None of this looking flirtatiously into the camera from below rubbish either! Trying to look sexy whilst representing your business is not only a bit gross, but it also sends totally the wrong message. In this case, sex doesn't sell, and your prospective clients will subconsciously be turned off. Especially if when they meet you, you don't look anything like the photo!

3. Don't Snipe.

We all have fallings out with people at times, it's part of life. But criticising them and their business might make them look bad for a while, but in the end it just makes you look bitter and twisted. If you have a problem with someone, go and confront the situation. If you have made a small situation worse you may end up having to publicly apologise, and in a worse case scenario, you could be done for libel! 

4. Say 'Thank You'

If someone retweets or follows you, be polite, say thank you! It's an opportunity to build relationships, and people like to be thanked! 

5. To sell, Don't sell. 

If you think you're going to make money the second you sign up to Twitter or Facebook, you're wrong. Just as it does in real life, in Social Media it takes time to build relationships with people. I sell an awful lot through both those platforms when I try, but I've taken the time to build relationships and customer loyalty, and even then I don't always get sales. 

But, I do have a presence, and what I do best out of now is referrals. I've had so many referrals the last couple of months it's been fantastic, but that has come with 2 years of Tweeting. It takes time! I'm still shocked when people think about it!

6. Be Happy!

I kind of covered this before with number 1 a little bit, but basically be upbeat, even if you're saying a negative try and find a positive. Everyone has bad days, but try not to moan about them too much for example saying 

'Rubbish day, really fed up with it all, don't know how much longer I can take this. :-('

Is a HUGE turn off compared to 

'Rubbish day, but glad to be home, now, where's the wine?'

Can you feel the difference when you read them both?

7. Don't Lie.

Liars always get caught, and they can never regain the damage they've done to their reputation. Don't do it. #thatisall

8. Don't Spam!

Nothing is more irritating than your feed getting filled up with auto tweets. One every three to four hours is enough if you really have to do it, but seriously, you need to make sure they have a personal touch. Don't just use them to sell! Remember, it's about personality too!

9. Don't Auto Dm. 

Just don't. Or use Twit Validate, unless you want to turn people off straight away!

10. Don't swear.

In real life I swear like a sailor (probably because I was engaged to one once!) but on twitter, you'll very very rarely see me swear, it'll usually be 'bloody' and at a push 'shit' if the 'f' word is ever implied it's 'effing', never the word itself. 

Seeing those words written down make them seem a lot more harsh because they leave a longer imprint, visually. It cheapens your brand, and is against all the rules!

So there you go, some of my top tips! I hope they help you feel a bit more in control of your Social Media, thanks for reading! 


Monday, 13 February 2012

Love 4N

I belong to a business networking group called 4Networking. It's fantastic. If you haven't heard of it before, and you're in business, no matter what your company size you should check it out here.

4Networking uses the tagline Meet Like Know Trust. It operates on the principal that you wouldn't refer business to somebody you hadn't met, liked, got to know and therefore trusted. It's a very simple concept, but as most simple things are, it's spot on.

The MD is Brad Burton, Terry Cooper is another Director, and Stef Thomas is the Community Leader. One of the best things about these guys is that they're accessible. They're all incredibly busy, and have loads going on, but they all take the time to listen to their teams and the 4N members.

How do they do this? By using social media. I'm friends with all 3 on Facebook. I follow and am followed by all 3 on twitter. I even made Terry's birthday cakes last year.

I often draw a parallel between Social Media and 4N, to get something out of both you have to build relationships. You have to stop thinking what does this person have to give to me, but think how can I help them. You have to listen to them, and quite often what happens in both arenas, is you sell through them, if not to them.

I love 4N, I've been a member for 18 months, and in that time, I've had a tv programme, radio interviews, magazine articles, and newspaper articles. All through 4N.

4N has also provided me with some of the best friendships I've ever had. Perhaps that's because we are all in the same boat, we have a common interest, and we're all driven to make our respective businesses successes.

By intertwining 4N and Social Media, I've got the best out of both worlds, the two go hand in hand, because the same principles apply to both.

If you haven't already, go and check them out, come to a meeting (Chepstow is the best ;-) ) and see what you think. I guarantee you will love it as much as me....well, maybe not that much, but nearly!

Sunday, 5 February 2012

Why Social Media, why me?

So, my venture into the social media consultancy world is fairly recent, actually, it's really recent, it came about because of a meeting I went to in cardiff called Make It Happen Monday, which was launched by 4Networking to help people like me running SME's get help and direction from other SME's.

Up until that point I had been running The Chepstow Cupcake Company, and Go Fudge Yourself, food based companies. During the meeting, you have to stand up and say what you think you're good at, and then in another round stand up and say what you think you need help with.

At the last meeting I didn't really know what to say I was good at. I mean, I can give you a fantastic buttercream recipe, but that's not really going to help your business expand now is it? Your waistline, yes, maybe, but not your business!

Anyway, between that meeting in December, and the next one in January, I was told the incredible pain in my neck was a ruptured disc, and the pain in my shoulder was Supraspinatus Tendonitis, and I needed to take 3 months off baking. 3 MONTHS!?!! I'm a single mother dependent entirely on my income! I can't take time off!!

Anyway, whilst pondering this, I went to another MIHM meeting in January. I stood up and explained that in my businesses I had successfully used Social Media to create brand awareness. Pretty much everyone at the meeting already knew of me from Facebook or Twitter, so they knew I was speaking the truth.

Much to my surprise I was voted an 'expert' which meant enough people wanted to hear what I had to say about Social Media. Well there you go, I had a fantastic group, who I shared a lot of knowledge tips and tricks with, and at the end of it, a few people asked if they could pay me to come and give them training sessions.


I of course said yes, and right there, right then a business was born! I've struggled a little bit since then with being branded an 'expert', I don't think of myself as that, I've learnt on the job and I was a little bit scared I wouldn't know what I was doing.

However, the people that I most respect in the industry, Peter Kay, Allan Blair Beaton, Dickie Armour, and Barry Watson, have welcomed me into the fold, and as Pete said:

So, if the experts have included me, does that make me an expert? Well, no, I don't think that's for me to decide, I think it's for me to prove. Other people will decide that, so I decided to as the experts here's what they said:

'Social Media is too broad, too many disciplines, too many components. No one can be an expert of it all.' - Pete

Allan pretty much said the same thing independently

it's impossible to be an expert. You can only be a participant in what's going on.'

'Agree with ABB. there are no experts. We're all learning together!'
- Dickie 

I love this thought process. Social Media is moving and developing too quickly for anyone to be an 'expert'. All I can say, is I adore social media, it's a natural part of my day, and I rely on it completely to keep up with my friends and listen to and engage with my customers.

I hope I never do know it all, It would be boring then!

Friday, 3 February 2012

Embarrassing moment!

I made a Social Media boo boo. It's quite embarrassing really, I'm supposed to be the expert right? Well I'm also human (which is why I don't auto DM or tweet) and I can make mistakes too.

What happened is this: I was showing a client around LinkedIn, when I accidentally clicked the mouse whilst hovering over the send button. This resulted in me sending off endorsement requests to about 50 people, most of whom haven't even laid eyes on me!

I immediately posted a status apologising for sending the message and got a few messages asking why they should endorse me having never met me. I wrote back explaining and apologising. What happened next stunned me....

People who had never met me, had never used my services, probably didn't need my services, and probably hadn't even realised we were connected replied saying 'Yes, what would you like me to say? Can you post one back for me?'

I was pretty shocked, it would never occur to me to write a false testimonial for someone, and wouldn't ask them to write one for me.

How can you trust what these people say? That's why mediums such as Twitter, Facebook and now Google + are so important. Facebook gives your customers a platform to thank you in a visible way, so your customers can see. It allows you to engage with your customers, and ask their opinions as well as hear what they are saying. Google + can work in much the same way, as well as pushing up your SEO rankings at the same time. Twitter is fantastic for instant referrals, for building relationships with potential customers, as well as 'competitors'.

It's vital that we are all on these mediums, whatever business you are in. I keep hearing people trying to argue that Social Media doesn't apply to their business, but even if you don't think you can sell directly through Twitter or Facebook (and I have yet to find a business that can't), you can listen to what people are saying about your company, whether good or bad, and take action, thanking them, or rectifying the situation.

Because, after all, Social Media is all about listening. You can learn an awful lot if you just listen.

Thanks for listening to me!