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Thursday, 6 September 2012

What is Twitter?

For those of you who are still not sure what Twitter is and what the point of it all is, but were too scared to ask, or just can't get along with the "War and Peace" Wikipedia version - here's the shorter, simpler Helepedia version, to clear things up, I hope it helps.

(My) Definition
Twitter is a communication tool that enables you to gather and share online information and in choosing the right people to communicate with, and in the right way, build an online following or community that share similar interests and build rapport and relationships.

It is a great free tool, for helping to promote individuals and businesses, helping them to raise their profile, demonstrate expertise and build interest in the products and services they offer.

It’s brevity and immediacy, allows information to be shared very quickly, allowing you to have up to the second news updates on any topic you choose.  For this reason it is great for current affairs, sport updates, weather, celebrity gossip, television and radio programmes. But also, any up to the minute news and information that may occur in your industry, can you think of some examples?

Being free and accessible to anyone who has internet access, it also gives the general public the opportunity to voice their opinions on whichever topics take their fancy, at any time of day or night and regardless of the kind of day they might be having!

As this is the first time such an opportunity for open, public broadcasting has been given, and on such a scale, there have been occasions when members of the public have over-stepped the mark of voicing their opinion and actually vilified others with their libellous claims resulting in legal action.

As anyone can use Twitter, this is also the first time that the general public and celebrities or people in the public eye have the opportunity to communicate directly with each other.  Again this can have it’s pros and cons, if celebs conduct themselves well and use social media well, it can increase their following and popularity or vice versa.

You can have as many accounts as you like, but most people either have a work or personal account or one for each.  In terms of business accounts, these can be set up to represent the business as a whole, or for individuals within the company to build rapport with clients, or around specific products or services, or a combination of these depending on how your business works.

Business Benefits
When used well in business Twitter is brilliant for sharing your latest news and updates, promoting events, building an audience, answering questions, developing customer relations, providing great customer service, getting noticed by the right people, building relations with customers and suppliers, demonstrating how much you care and maximising the impact of “word of mouth marketing” by giving your customers the opportunity to share their great experiences with an even wider audience.

Business Precautions
When used badly, Twitter can make a business appear, self-absorbed as opposed to customer focused, too promotional, just caring about the bottom line, not providing good, information, service or products, not caring about the customer, not being up to date with what’s happening in their own industry, just out to promote themselves and not their customers needs.  Even large corporates like McDonalds can get Twitter wrong.

I’d like to hear from you - Please Tweet me!
I hope this give a good general introduction to What Twitter is?  If there’s anything you would like to add please feel free to comment below or better still tweet me @helencoldicott !

Like to learn how to use Twitter well for your business?
If you’re interested in learning how to maximise the impact of your marketing with Twitter, if you’d like to know how best to set up accounts for your business, if you’re worried that you don’t have the time or resources to update your social media – in fact any social media questions you have please give me a call I'd love to help make Twitter work for you – Helen 01905 23902.

Monday, 20 August 2012

How to promote an event using Twitter

Deciding to run an event or an exhibition can be a daunting task.  First you need to decide who you want to attract, next you need to pick a great date, preferably when none of your competitors are having a big event, you need to hire a great venue that’s easy for your target audience to get to, as well as all the given things like having great speakers and great exhibitors.

But one of the most important things is letting people know about it and making sure they come.  One of the many great benefits Twitter offers is that it’s perfect for promoting events and encouraging your exhibitors and attendees to spread the word for you – but how?

Marketing your event using Twitter

If you’re running your own event, there are a few things that you can do to make sure that you receive maximum exposure.

Pre Event Twitter Tips

  1. For big annual or regular monthly events, you will be best to create a Twitter account just for the event. This way you will be able to build a target audience specifically for the event.
  2. For one off events for your company – it will be best to run it from your own business Twitter account.
  3. Create a hashtag – if you have an account with the event name – you won’t need to do this, however, if you’re running a one-off event for your company – like a product launch you need to create a hashtag.
  4. Why do I need a hashtag?  By having a hashtag it's easier to measure the marketing, reach and viral affect that Twitter has had.  By encouraging people to use the hashtag it makes it easier for them to enter the conversation about that event, rather than it going on in separate conversations.
  5. What makes a great hashtag? It must be unique, short, memorable and descriptive. For example if I was creating a hashtag for the Chamber’s Worcestershire Business Expo it could be #WorcesterExpo #WorcBiz2012 or for a product launch make sure you include the name of the product and the version #GoldMine23 or #drawscribe2012.  
  6. Publicise the hashtag and explain to your exhibitors how to use it. When people sign up make sure they include the hashtag in all tweets, you could even award a prize for the exhibitors who uses it most successfully (most click through to sign up).
  7. Follow all your exhibitors and help to promote their business and stand by retweeting them.
  8. Following attendees - If it will benefit them and give them exposure, thank new businesses who subscribe to attend.   However, if this means they’ll just get bombarded by exhibitors perhaps ask them first.  For example, if a large company sent someone to attend you can tweet them a thank you using their corporate account.  This will show you care that they’re coming but also demonstrate what a high profile event you’re running.
  9. Promote the hashtag to attendees when they sign up – automatic tweet using the hashtag.
  10. Run a Twitter competition with prize winners announced at the event.
  11. Engage – don’t forget to search for your event, use broad search terms and make sure you thank, retweet and mention anyone who’s actively tweeting about you.
  12. Set up alerts, you can set up alerts using applications like this will allow you to receive notifications direct to your inbox about who’s talking about your event.  Not everyone will know about your hashtags or how to use them so make sure you set up alerts that are broad enough but not too broad otherwise you’ll be inundated with irrelevant tweets.
  13. Timing - Remember promoting the event and making sure lots of people attend is paramount, you need to promoting events at least 6 weeks in advance.  Make sure you include links to your website, make sure the date is cemented into people’s minds.
  14. Measurement.  If you’ve got someone spending an hour a day, tweeting, monitoring and responding you need to make sure that their time is making a difference.  What is your goal, if it’s getting people to sign up you want number of click through’s to that web page and number of people who fill in the form.

How to use Twitter during your event

Although you’ll probably have a million other things to think about on the day, remember to make the most of the big event itself.

  1. One way to do this is to offer a prize for the best photo from the event that’s tweeted – again make sure it contains the relevant hashtag, like #WorcExpoPhoto or #WexpoPhoto
  2. Again, make sure that someone is given the job of monitoring Twitter on the day.  If there was a problem with the weather, traffic or parking.  What better way to keep your audience informed than via Twitter.
  3. Take control – what you want to do is make sure you’re the authority and lead the conversation with Tweets, don’t allow your event to get high-jacked by a particularly large exhibitor or controlled by the local press, journalists or PR agencies.

Post Event Twitter Tips

  1. Remember to thank everyone for making it such a great success.
  2. Follow up.  Make sure you take photo’s of all of your exhibitors, you can @mention them and make a quirky comment on what happened on the day.
  3. Engage, ask people how they think it went.
  4. Monitor.  Continue to search for people talking about the event.  If there were any complaints, you should be the first to know and the first to respond – this way you could turn a negative into a positive very quickly.
Twitter & your marketing campaign
The other thing to remember is that Twitter shouldn't be used in isolation, it is an integral part to your marketing campaign, so make sure all web updates, blogs, PR, sign up pages etc are all well sign posted.  twitter is the perfect tool for maximising all of your current, traditional marketing techniques.

These are the main considerations when using Twitter to promote your events, if you need any professional advice around promoting your particular event, Coldicott Freelance Training offer help with marketing campaigns and regular monthly social media management sessions, please give us a call 01905 23902 or 0770 410 5954.

Tuesday, 7 August 2012

What's your #TopTweet?

Not TOTP #TopTweet
How it all came about...
Each summer I like to spend a little bit of time reviewing my current marketing and business plans and seeing what improvements I can make.  Part of this process is to review my 60 seconds introduction that I make at business networking events and see how I can improve it.

I think it's all too easy to fall back on the same material and I wanted something new, exciting and dynamic that I could use that reflects the ever changing Social Media environment I work in.

So I've had an idea, as a social media trainer and consultant, why not tap into all the social updates that happen every second and share my favourite one for that day or week?

This might be something interesting & relevant in the news, it might be to help promote a great company I've heard about or work with or it might be something inspirational that I'd like to share with my colleagues.  It might even be something a bit quirky and funny that shows my funny side but also helps people remember who I am.

What I also thought was how can others benefit from this idea?

Originally, I thought I would like to call this my "Tweet of the Week" a bit like "Top of the Pop's", however having searched for the hashtag #TOTW - I can see this is already used to mean "Tune of the Week".

#FaveTweet has also gone and implies that you could probably only ever have one or two of these.

So eventually the unique hashtag I've found that is currently not being used is #TopTweet

Would you like to join in?
If you's like to share your favourite tweet of the day or week - simply include the #TopTweet hashtag and this will add your tweet to the conversation. Why not give it a go.

Look forward to Twearing from you!

Tuesday, 10 July 2012

What's a tweetup?

If the Hereford Tweetup's anything to go by? Inspirational...

Being my first ever tweetup I didn't really know what to expect.  I am familiar with online social networking, and real life business networking, however offline social networking was a new one to me!

I knew it would be different from most other business networking I'd attended; firstly it was a different time of day a "rolling start from 6.30 - 7.00pm" meant there was no pressure to start at a certain time, being after work there were no suits and the food focus was tapas rather than the usual full English but most importantly this made the atmosphere relaxed, informal and friendly, rather than having that rushed, "we're here to do business" under current.

I went open-minded and without any real strategy, apart from a handful of business cards should someone want one.  I found just being myself and moving around occasionally I met most people - see list below, apologies if I missed you this time - please fee free to comment!

Star Moment!
 However the stand out moment was meeting Geoff who was a photographer on holiday in Hereford from America. He wasn't sure about social media because as far as he could see he'd have to write about stuff that didn't interest him.

An interesting thought, "Why's that?" I asked.  To be honest I'm not that interested in what other people have to say on blogs.  "Well what is it that you're interested in?" "Photography" he replied, "I thought I'd seen my error straight away and that this man much preferred to communicate through his art, "Well you could take photo's and share these?"  To which Geoff replied "I've seen other sites that do this and I don't like them either, and surely social media suggests that these photo's should communicate the here and now?".  Hmmm this guy was an interesting challenge.

Well tell me a bit more about the things that you like.  "Travel, experiencing different cultures, meeting people, taking portraits, as well as architectural photo's, like ones I took on a recent trip to Prague." So I said, "Well why don't you write a blog and tweet about these things?"  And through this brief encounter, as I'm sure he's aware, Geoff had got me to re-think what I tweet and blog about and has probably sent me down a different altogether more enjoyable and rewarding path.

My Social Media Strategy takes an interesting shift...
Yes I am interested in social media and how it helps mine and many other people's businesses and relationships.  Developing relationships just works a lot better if you have stuff in common first.  So, if you want to attract like minded people who you're interested in and want to work with - just write about stuff you're interested in.  

So, what else am I really passionate about?  Walking, exploring, outdoors, food, ingredients, cooking, experimenting with food, eating out, trying new cuisines, this was something that I'd hoped to do before I started my own Social Media Training company, which embraces the other things I love and that's meeting and helping people.  This hopefully, will re-ignite my passion for tweeting and blogging, it may have taken a while but hopefully now I've found my niche?  

Social Media Marketing for cafe's, restaurants, producers and foodies in general.

So this is the starting point where I mix my passions, meeting and helping people, communicating and sharing information, knowledge, experiences and creating, sharing recipes, idea's, and information about our food.  

I'll be really interested to hear from you in the comments if you have any help, advice or perhaps think I'm doing the wrong thing?  I'll be measuring the affect of this change in terms of followers, engagement and sentiment and writing a progress report in a couple of months. Watch this space.

What an inspiring evening - I certainly didn't expect that from my first ever Tweetup - Thanks Geoff x

Some of the interesting people I met include; 

Moira Davidson - Rather Inventive - @moiradavidson - Chief Organiser
Ben Kinnaird - Rather Inventive - @ratherinventive @benkinnaird - Sub Organiser
Lou Kinnaird - @loukinnaird - Boss!

Keith Winsor - Operation Blessing - @keithwins @OBeurope
Annette Clubley - Hughes Media - @hughesmedia @zimamai
Victoria Cronin - H&W Chamber - @HW_chamber
Catherine Every - Pippin Consultancy - @catherineevery
Clare Jenner - Knipe, Whiting, Heath & Associates Ltd
Leah - Henryka Amber - @HenrykaAmber
I'm sorry I've forgotten your name lady from with the Pink wellies - Philip Morris & Son - @_PhilipMorris
Ben - The Rocket Cafe - @rockethereford - Excellent venue & tapa's

Friday, 18 May 2012

What is Bufferapp?

What is Bufferapp?

According to the makers of Bufferapp it empowers you to be “Awesome on social media. Easily add great articles, pictures and videos to your Buffer and we automagically share them for you through the day!”

Bufferapp is a social media management, automation and measurement tool that can be used with Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn.

How does it work?

You create an account that’s linked to all your social networks you wish to update.
Next, create social media updates, at a time convenient for you.  Add them all to your buffer and then these are sent at at pre-set times throughout the day, week and month.

What does it look like?

Bufferapp Dashboard - Add your updates

Benefits of Bufferapp

1. More control - You choose when you’d like to create your updates

For example, if you only have one admin day per week, you could do all your updates on that day.

2. Don’t bombard your followers - Your updates are posted at regular times throughout the day – not all at once

For example, sometimes if you have half an hour free to read and research your industry – you may find lots of possible content.  You can save these to your buffer out then have the posts spread out evenly

3. Optimum response – you can choose when your updates go out – these can be different for each social network.

For example, the optimal time that people read and share updates in LinkedIn could be between 9.00 – 10.00am.  The optimal time people read, reply and share on twitter might be 7 – 8pm in the evening.

How do I get started?

If you would like to give a whirl simply create your account with one of your existing Social Media Accounts and start adding helpful, relevant information with your social media audience.

  • Perhaps you've got a social media management tool or app that you've found really useful?  If so I would love to hear about it and how it helped you in your business.
  • Do you need help creating a social media strategy for your business which will enable your staff to use Social Media effectively?  Yes? Check out my flexible social media training courses...

Thursday, 19 April 2012

Getting Started with Pinterest

Getting Started with Pinterest

Before you can start using Pinterest you need to be accepted by them. Simply go to their website and fill in your name and email address, it took me a couple of times before they emailed by confirmation that I could set up my new Pinterest account.

1. Create your username – Max 15 characters no spaces or symbols
Then there are just 3 simple steps:

Step 1. People

Click on things you like or are interested in and Pinterest will recommend who to follow

Step 2. Pinboards

Pinboards are where you can group together things you’ve bookmarked on the web – whether there are your products, services, views from your B&B window etc or whether they’re other people’s things and products that you like.

Step 3. Button

To install the “Pin It” button in Chrome:
1. Display your Bookmarks by clicking the Wrench Icon > Tools > Always Show Bookmarks Bar
2. Drag the “Pin It” button to your Bookmarks bar
3. When you are browsing the web, push the “Pin It” button to pin an image
Once installed in your browser, the “Pin It” button lets you grab an image from any website and add it to one of your pinboards. When you pin from a website, we automatically grab the source link so we can credit the original creator.

You're in!

Pinterest Etiquette:
Try to...
  • Be Respectful. Pinterest is a community of people. We know that individual tastes are personal, but please be respectful in your comments and conversations.
  • Be Authentic. Pinterest is an expression of who you are. Being authentic to who you are is more important than winning lots of followers or fans.
  • Credit Your Sources. Pins are the most useful when they have links back to the original source. If you notice that a pin is not sourced correctly, leave a comment so the original pinner can update the source.
Happy pinning!

Still not sure how Pinterest can help promote your business? Maybe a little training will help?Take a look at my Pinterest for Business Training Course

Tuesday, 10 April 2012

How can Pinterest help my business?

You may have already heard of Pinterest – the new social media kid on the block.

So, what is Pinterest, what is all the fuss about and how could Pinterest help your business?

As with many of the social media platforms which have bloomed in popularity, Pinterest is a very simple idea, cleverly executed.

When you log on to you’ll see how each page looks a bit
like a pin board; yes, those things on our kitchen walls crammed with our old
family photographs, holiday postcards and ‘must do’ lists.

Here then, you can create an easy to view photo album of your products and
services to enable your customers to get an immediate visual understanding
how you can help them.

Every photo you post can be linked back to your main website or your social
media site and you can also encourage people to ‘like’ and share your pins.

It’s great for designers, photographers, artists, organisations that run events
or venues (such as hotels and tourist attractions) or any business that sells a
range of products.

Here are a few Pinterest sites that I think have got the right idea...

Have a look also at some of the areas you’re personally interested in. You
search simply by subject, name or organisation.

It’s free to sign up and create a page (you have to request an invitation first)
and Pinterest also has a reassuring user policy which forbids nudity.

Here at Coldicott Freelance Training I’m ‘liking’ Pinterest because it’s a very
simple and effective way to showcase your business and increase your online

As with any new social media platform it’s a good idea to sign up early so if
you’d like to get started or know more, contact me for more details.