Tuesday, 28 February 2017

Specsavers focuses on Oscars mix-up with a well-timed tweet

Successful social media marketing for businesses is about being true to your brand values. If you can inform and entertain, and if you can be timely and topical too, then you are on to a winner.

So I have to say congratulations to Specsavers, who, in my opinion, got it spot-on when it came to reacting to this year's gaffe at the Oscars.

A mix-up with envelopes led to La La Land being announced as the winner of the Best Picture Oscar instead of Moonlight. The mistake was corrected but not without some seriously awkward moments on stage that were pored over by print, online and broadcast media in microscopic detail in the hours that followed.

Meanwhile, Specsavers took to Twitter with this simple but effective tweet: 'Not getting the Best Picture? #shouldve #Oscars' and an image of a hand pulling a card from a red envelope bearing the company's famous advertising slogan 'Should've gone to Specsavers'.

Although the eyesight of award presenters Warren Beatty and Faye Dunaway has never been called into question, the Specsavers tweet was funny, concise, on-brand and on-message.

It's not the first time that the eyecare company has been on target with a funny tweet in the aftermath of an incident that's made global headlines.

During the 2014 World Cup you may remember the moment when Uruguay striker Luis Suarez bit Italian defender Giorgio Chiellini. A number of companies were quick to create reactive social media marketing campaigns, with comical images and tweets. Food companies led the way with Heinz, Subway, Ginsters and Snickers being among the businesses who suggested what else Suarez could have sunk his teeth into.

But in my book, Specsavers nailed it again, implying that Suarez should've gone to Specsavers to avoid mistaking Cellini for the Italian dish of cannelloni.

Yes, it gives us a laugh as we scroll through our Twitter feeds, and we're likely to retweet it, but what is the value to businesses who capture the mood of the moment on social media with topical, reactive marketing campaigns like these?

Well, it gives them a massive digital reach and enviable engagement levels - and some of that activity will translate into visits to the website and new followers and fans.

In the case of Specsavers, they will now be front of mind with many people when they next think about booking an eye test. A few people did tweet back that they were thinking of switching to Specsavers. Maybe they will, maybe they won't, but it has given Specsavers a massive audience online that would have been expensive to reach through traditional media channels.

Of course, brands such as Specsavers don't rely on social media alone; its Twitter strategy is just part of its overall marketing mix.

But I believe that businesses of all sizes can follow Specsavers' lead and focus on how they can start conversations, use humour  and capitalise on topical news and events to be memorable and create a buzz.

Wednesday, 22 February 2017

Caittom Publishing Shortlisted for Business of the Year

I am delighted to have been shortlisted for Business of the Year (Business to Business) in the Business Networking Awards for the second year running.

This will be the 5th year the awards have been run and the 2017 ceremony will be held on March 11 at The Tower Suite, Drayton Manor.

You can read about last year's award ceremony here. I'll be cheering on some of the wonderful businesses that I have worked for, and with, in the last 12 months. I'm also delighted that the celebrations on the night will help to raise funds for the Buddy Bag Foundation, a charity that makes a huge difference to children who have to move into emergency accommodation.

Caittom Publishing business award finalist

Thursday, 16 February 2017

How to plan your social media content

Planning your social media content
Planning is a key element of business success, and it’s certainly important when it comes to social media content.

When you’ve got a busy business to run, and if creating content and managing social media channels isn’t the thing that you enjoy most, it can be easy to push it down the to-do list and get on with other tasks.

But some advanced planning and organisation can make it less of a chore – and when you start to see some impact from your efforts you may even start to enjoy it.

You can make life easier for yourself by planning your social media content in advance, but remember to stay focused on providing value to your audience and using the relationships you develop to support your business objectives.

Creating a content calendar

To begin with I would recommend creating a calendar spreadsheet for the next six months. Start by putting in the landmark dates such as Easter, Valentine’s Day, Mother’s Day etc. If you run a retail business or a restaurant then it’s obvious that those times of the year offer marketing opportunities to raise awareness of gift ideas and themed menus that you can offer and promote. But if you are a business-to-business company you can still use these milestones as the subjects of social media posts and blog ideas. For instance, if you are a business coach you could use Valentine’s Day as a hook to write about how you can help business owners to fall back in love with their businesses.

You need to add more events that are specific to your industry or sector to your content calendar. Google is a good place to start searching for national and international events that can be the inspiration for content. If you offer hair and beauty services you might want to note down glamorous red carpet events such as the Oscars and the BAFTAS, ready to talk about who was turning heads and why. If you provide health and fitness advice and products you may want to search for health awareness days, weeks and months and add those to your calendar.

Between these events you can think about topics that will be interesting to your ideal customers. Put yourself in their shoes and think about what they will find interesting and useful.

Write down questions that you have been asked about your business by customers, or businesses that you network with, and use these as inspirations for social media content.

Don’t be a pushy salesperson

Don't just sell sell sell on social media
When you’re planning future content, remember that businesses and brands enjoying success through social media don’t ‘sell, sell, sell’. Social media is about building relationships, and that means listening to others and showing them support. You need to schedule some time to regularly read and engage with others on social media.

Your content needs to provide value, position you as an expert and show how you can solve problems and make life easier and better for your prospective customers. No-one likes pushy foot-in-the-door salespeople or aggressive cold callers on the phone – so don’t do that type of hard sell on social media either.

People want to work with businesses that are professional and get results but they’ll also be drawn to businesses that have heart, who show they appreciate their employees by celebrating their successes publicly and who demonstrate the importance they place on excellent customer service, honesty and transparency.

A picture paints a thousand words – a video even more

Importance of images and video in social media
All social media platforms are hungry for visual content.

You will have potential customers reading social media posts who may not even know that they need you yet. A strong image can grab their attention and make them aware of how you could make their life easier or better.

Testimonials from past customers can be turned into content for social media platforms. Use mini case studies as stories on Facebook and turn quotes into visuals for Twitter, Instagram and Pinterest.
Video testimonials capture the essence of what you do and are a powerful tool to persuade people that they need the sort of help you offer.

Behind-the-scenes videos and images are also a great way of showing the human side of your business. It builds trust and confidence in potential customers to know you are experts at what you do with knowledge, skill and robust processes.

Infographics can convey statistics and data in a way that is memorable and grabs attention.

How often should I post on social media?

The answer, I believe, is that you have to find a level that you can sustain - but be aware that a couple of tweets a week won’t change the world.  Be realistic about the time you can spare and the resources you have. Is there someone you can co-opt to help you create content?

Once you have built an audience, and you are acquiring new followers and fans, try and be consistent about how frequently you post. Out of sight does mean out of mind on social media.

Once your calendar is up and running, try and stay a few weeks ahead in your content creation because it’s easy to fall behind when you’re posting something new every day.

You can use tools such as Buffer or Hootsuite to schedule content, but if you are focusing on Facebook remember that it has its own scheduling system, which you might find simpler and clearer to use.  

Thursday, 2 February 2017

Kick-start your own blogging adventure

Blogging workshop March 31 2017 in Lichfield

Update: All the places available on this Blogging for Business course on March 31, sold out within 24 hours of going on sale. 

Thanks to everyone who has booked and I look forward to working with you.

I will be looking to schedule future dates later in the year.

Have you fallen out of love with blogging and need to get your mojo back?

Do you want to start writing regular blog posts to raise your profile, promote your business and build an audience of engaged and interested readers?

Would you like to feel more confident about your ability to write?

If so, and you are within striking distance of Lichfield, Staffordshire, I'm running a Blogging for Business workshop on Friday March 31, 2017, from 10am-1pm at Advantage House, Stowe Court, Stowe Street, Lichfield.

This will be a practical session for a maximum of 12 people. You will bring along your laptop and together we'll get stuck in to some serious planning and writing that will kick-start your blogging adventure.

Learn about blogging for business with Caittom Publishing
I won't be covering the technical side of setting up a blog on Wordpress, Blogger or another platform, but by the end of the three-hour session you will have:
  • Developed a strategy for your blog.
  • Identified your ideal audience and planned how to reach and engage them.
  • Explored ways of generating regular ideas for blog content.
  • Practised techniques for creating a start, a middle and an end to your blog post.
  • Learned ways of promoting your blog online and offline.
  • Discovered how to create compelling images for your blog at low cost (or no cost).
  • Looked at copyright law and how to avoid infringements on your blog and social media.
The cost is £29 per person which will include course materials to take away, tea, coffee and light refreshments.  If you have any questions, or would like to book a place on the course, please email elaine@caittompublishing.co.uk. Payment in full will be required by Monday March 27 to secure your place.

If you use a sat nav to find Advantage House, you will need to put in the post code WS13 6DT, but please note that there is no parking for delegates available on site. Local long stay car parks offer good value and a map of where to find them is available here on the Lichfield City Council website 

Here's what some people who have explored blogging for business with me in the past have said:

You made a complex subject simple, even for technophobes like me. I love the guidelines I now have to follow, like rails to run on. Thank you very much.Liz Abram, Liz Abram Coaching Services.

I had got stuck with my blog, lacking confidence in what to write and how to make it all look good. Elaine really helped me to understand how to make the most of my blog. She advised me on my blogging strategy and gave me the confidence to get going again. – Joelle Harris, The Eco Wardrobe Warrior.

I blog quite a bit with different hats on and even with all of my experience it was lovely to learn more about how to target my ideal audience and use the content I already have on different platforms. Thank you so much!!Holly Hinton.