Monthly Intern Blog: March

This month marks the half way point of my internship – it’s gone so quickly!

On the first of the month, I got to attend a local networking event while Natalie was at Facebook HQ, brushing up on the latest tactics and strategies to help our clients. This was the first networking event I had attended on my own, so it was nerve-wracking, but it was good to get an opportunity to meet some of the clients that I had previously only spoken to via email and social media.

We celebrated International Women’s Day by holding an evening networking event, which was designed to encourage conversation between women in business. Natalie also gave some free advice about how to use Instagram stories to optimise views and engagement, which everyone found useful.

We also got some exciting news in March – we have been nominated for two Wiltshire Business Awards! Natalie has been nominated for Best Business Person and Naturally Social is short-listed in the Best Micro-Business category. If you are interested in hearing more about the awards and our nominations, scroll down to see our last blog post.

This month I have started to apply what I’ve learnt over the past months to some different projects. I have been creating a social media strategy for one of our clients, which has been a good opportunity to use what I learnt on Natalie’s training courses. I have also started making mock-ups of Facebook ads for us and our clients. The kind of things that need to be considered when creating Facebook ads are who you want to target and how you can appeal to that audience, where the people you want to target might live and what their interests are.

As well as the work I have been doing in the office, I have also been sitting in on client meetings with Natalie. At the start of the month we visited the Wiltshire Air Ambulance air base, which was a fantastic opportunity to see first hand what it is they do and hear about what they hope to achieve in the coming months. I also had the chance to visit Gloucestershire Golf Union and hear about their plans for future events.

I will keep you updated on what we get up to in April – I’m sure it will be just as busy!

We’ve been nominated for two Wiltshire Business Awards!

We have been shortlisted for the Wiltshire Business Awards, which take place on 10th May 2019 at Centerparcs Longleat. Our founder, Natalie, has been nominated for Best Business Person and Naturally Social is short-listed in the Best Micro-Business category.

Our agency was founded in 2015 and is a business with positive ethics at its core. We have created a social first communications agency with a particular interest in helping local businesses and third sector organisations that put purpose before profit.

We are fortunate enough to have attended The Wiltshire Business Awards before- in 2017 we were short-listed for the Start Up Business of the Year and Creative Marketing Award. We were also nominated for an award in 2018, making 2019 the third year we will be attending the awards.

We’re so pleased that our efforts to create a business which has a positive social impact has been recognised and we’re looking forward to an evening celebrating the hard work and successes of local businesses.

Wish us luck, if you’d like to keep up to date with how we get on, follow us on Twitter and Instagram.

 

Monthly Intern Blog: February

I can’t believe how quickly this month has gone- it’s just flown by!

I’ve been just as busy this month as I was last month, but I’ve been in the office a lot more in February.

This month we were planning posts for Love Your Pet Day, which involved getting lots of photos of Loui, the office dog, and all of his antics (it’s a hard job, but someone has to do it)! I was also planning content for our clients and drafting posts for their channels, putting together the photos with the right words that fit with their business’ online presence.

Another Awareness Day that took up a lot of time this month was Safer Internet Day. This was a national initiative which aimed to promote online safety to children and teenagers. On the day, I went to Southwick Primary school with Natalie and Kathryn from KSP Tech Care to take photos of them while they were giving a talk to 7-10-year-old children about internet safety.

However, the work on the day was just a small part of the Safer Internet Day campaign. The preparation for the campaign meant that I got to put into practice a lot of what I learned on the PR course I attended in December. A big part of the campaign was promoting what we were doing on the day to local publications. This meant writing a press release for the event and sending out a photo call, encouraging local press to come and take photos after Natalie and Kathryn had given their talk. The PR course gave me a good insight into best practices for writing press releases and how to ensure they catch the attention of local news outlets. Attending the course meant that the press release I wrote got picked up by local press, including the Wiltshire Times, who also attended on the day to take photos for an article that was later published in their newspaper.

On one of the days that I was out of the office this month, I attended another public training course. Going to some of the workshops and training days that Natalie leads is one of my favourite parts of the internship because I feel like I always learn something new every time. This time, I felt like I learned a lot more about Facebook algorithms, especially with all the recent changes. When there are different groups of people at the workshops, with different aims and levels of understanding of social media, there are inevitably a variety of questions that get asked, which is something I am constantly learning from. I also like learning about the different businesses of the delegates, what they enjoy doing within their own businesses and what they struggle with. It’s always good to see first hand how much Naturally Social helps fledgling businesses grow, especially when they are impacting positive social change and helping the local community.

Next month, I’m looking forward to meeting more of you at the workshops and keeping you all up to date with how I’m getting on at Naturally Social in my next monthly update.

Social Media: Making a positive change

I talk a lot about the positivity of social media and in a time when most platforms are facing scrutiny for the content that is being shared there I wanted to put pen to paper (so to speak)…

 

Last year I had the opportunity to deliver a Ted-X inspired talk at Wiltshire Council in Trowbridge about Social Media for Social Good – because it’s a topic close to heart. I’ll go in to more details about what this truly means in another post but for now I want to talk about how we can all use social media in a more positive way and why we should each make small changes to the way we use our social media platforms.

 

Social Media is, for many, a massive part of our day to day lives and has the power to greatly affect our mental wellbeing for good or bad. This effect is very much two way and we must take responsibility for the content we choose to share – after all this has potential to affect how our followers and friends feel. With this in mind, always be mindful when re-sharing content from other sources of information. Is it from a factually reputable source? The phrase “Fake News” has been thrown around so much recently that it is almost a cliche, however, it’s still very much a problem. Contributing to the spreading of “Fake News” includes clicking or commenting on images, quotes and memes that are designed to shock. Also known as click bait. Use a website like www.snopes.com to confirm whether what you’ve seen is factually correct or check the web address of the source. Does it look or sound legit?!

 

Raise awareness of a charity close to your heart. It is a great thing that more and more people are aware of the world around them and want to change things for the better but the circulation of shocking content is not always the healthiest way to aid that change. Informing people of a charity that they may not know about is likely to have a more positive reaction and it gives your followers a clear idea of how they can help. If you want to raise awareness of what’s happening in the world – take part in constructive conversations. Don’t facilitate unhelpful or upsetting debate.

 

Another way of raising awareness across social media is to get involved with cause related hashtags. For example,  in recent history #MeToo has helped to demonstrate how prevalent sexual assault and harassment is, especially in the workplace, with high profile personalities sharing their own stories in order to change the behaviour of society for the better. Be mindful of these and if a cause connects with you then ask yourself how you can follow up once it has stopped trending…

 

For every piece of bad news there is, there is also wonderful news that often gets overlooked. People are doing fantastically selfless things every day and changing the world around them by taking positive steps to make a difference. Sites like www.goodnewsnetwork.org are a great source for good news and will brighten up your social media accounts and remind your followers that it’s not all doom and gloom. Go and download it today!

 

There are so many ways that social media can be used to spread positivity and help others. Here are three more simple ways that you can make a difference close to home with the power of social media.

 

  1. Post a positive review about a small local business that you have recently used.
  2. Spread the news about a local event that will bring the community together.
  3. Avoid airing your grievances with someone as this may lead to online bullying.

 

By making these small changes we can all contribute to a better experience online.

Social Media and Wellbeing- how to maintain a healthy relationship

With Social Media literally at our fingertips now, it shouldn’t come as a surprise that it can impact our mood. Many of us are guilty of mindlessly scrolling through Facebook, Twitter or Instagram at any given opportunity, immersing ourselves in our newsfeeds, rather than focusing on our what’s actually going on around us. Where we would once people watch while waiting for a train or carry a book around with us as a boredom buster, it seems that we now instinctively reach for our phones and press one of those colourful little apps.

 

Is this necessarily a bad thing? I don’t think so. It’s another form of evolution and as long as we are still communicating with each other and appreciating the world around us, does it really matter how this is done? Many of us are now inspired to take a snap of something that interests us and share it on Instagram for the world to appreciate and keeping in touch with loved ones all over the world is easier than it’s ever been, thanks to social media.

 

Maintaining a healthy relationship with social media is the key to ensuring that it doesn’t negatively affect our wellbeing so here are 5 ways that you can enjoy scrolling without allowing it impact your mental health.

 

Try not to collect friends – It’s very easy to accept every friend request that comes your way but having thousands of “friends” that you don’t actually know may cause your newsfeed to be clogged up with posts that aren’t of any real interest to you. By keeping your friends list to just your real life friends and family your newsfeed is going to have much more meaningful content, and surely you’d rather see pictures of your cousin’s new puppy than some stranger in America’s amazing weight loss using “miracle” pills that you are pretty sure aren’t even legal!! This goes for celebrities too! Think about who you follow on Instagram and Twitter and ask yourself ‘ does their content leave you feeling positive?’ if it doesn’t it may be time to unfollow!

 

Be mindful of what you are posting – Some social media sites are great tools for documenting your day; such as Twitter and stories but be mindful about what you do share…. Do people really need to know about your anger or hatred for someone? Or that your neighbours are screaming at each other in the street? Probably not. It may feel quite cathartic at the time but think carefully about how that would make others feel or how people will perceive you. By making it a habit to only post meaningful content you are contributing to a more positive online environment, so consider sharing heartwarming, funny or thought provoking posts instead. If in doubt, everyone loves a cat video!

 

Take what you read with a pinch of salt – Comparing your life with what you are seeing on social media is a sure fire way to bring yourself down so it’s important to remember that there will always be people that exaggerate how great (or bad) their life really is. We’ve all got friends that seem to post incredible holiday pictures on a monthly basis, leaving everyone else wondering how they can afford it or if they actually have a day job. On the flip side, there are those that over-share their dirty laundry, keeping it just vague enough that someone will leave a comment pressing for more information. Endless holiday pics are definitely better than the latter, in my opinion, but keep in mind that this person is being selective about what parts of their life they want their social media friends to see. It doesn’t mean they are doing better in life, are more successful or necessarily better off in any way, it just means you are seeing the parts of their life that they are happy to share – and that’s ok.

 

Try to log off at least once a day – Make a habit of putting the phone away and closing your laptop at least once or twice a day to enjoy a bit of time away from the temptation of social media. Take an hour to read a book, get some fresh air or spend time with a loved one and, most importantly, be completely focused on that activity. When you are with a person give them the courtesy of not constantly checking your notifications and, better still, switch those notifications off if you know they are going to be distracting.

 

Having a healthy relationship with social media doesn’t necessarily mean having to close down your accounts or delete the apps from your phone but when you are scrolling through your newsfeeds ask yourself if you are enjoying what you are seeing. If the answer is “not really” then put the phone away and do something else and remember to keep things in perspective.

A Successful Safer Internet Day

Social media is a subject which seems to divide a lot of opinion. Some people think it’s brilliant because they have used it to expand their business, some believe it’s a waste of time or only for the ‘shallow Instagram generation’ and others are intimidated by it and the potential dangers it could pose to their children. After all, there are an overwhelming amount of social media websites popping up now, which makes it difficult to keep up with all the privacy settings, child-friendly versions and parental controls available.

 

Education, at school and at home, is one of the most important things when it comes to online safety. This is why we teamed up with Kathryn Price, owner and founder of KSPTechCare, to deliver an assembly on Safer Internet Day about things that children should be aware of when going online.

 

At the start of the assembly, we asked the children how many of them own a mobile phone and the majority of the room raised their hands. After we found out how many young people own a mobile, we informed them about how to use “the little computers in their pockets” safely. Kathryn and I explained why passcodes on phones should only be known by them and their parents/guardians and made it clear that “if you send a nasty message to somebody that’s the same as bullying face to face”.

 

After we had finished giving the presentation, we were pleased to hear lots of questions from the children. Some of these included:

 

  • “What happens when a stranger picks up your phone and takes it?”
  • “What does the emergency button on your phone do?”
  • “Could you tell people where your address is? I don’t think you should but I’m not sure”
  • “Can people hack into your phone?”
  • “Can you fight hackers on your phone?”

 

The main thing that we took away from these questions, is that different children have different levels of understanding about technology, which is why education is so important. Teaching children about online safety is most effective when teachers and parents work together. Therefore, we sponsored the ‘Caught in the Web’ booklet, which was given to children at the end of the assembly. The book contains a story about internet safety and online safety quizzes and activities for children to complete with their parents, reinforcing the messages we communicated in the assembly.

 

We had a great afternoon teaching children about online safety. If you would like to continue the conversation with your child, then have a look at our blog post on internet safety for parents and businesses. We have also been sharing useful articles and teaching resources on our Twitter and Facebook channels, with videos on privacy settings, which are helpful for anyone wanting to keep their private information from becoming public knowledge.

Internet Safety Tips for Parents and Businesses

It’s Safer Internet Day on 5th February 2019 and this year we’ve pulled together some top internet safety tips for both parents and businesses.

5 Top Tips for businesses to stay safe online

Change your passwords

Make sure you change your passwords regularly and be aware of who has access. If employees leave – and it’s likely they managed the social media from their phones be sure to revoke their access – which can be managed in the security settings of each app.

Log out

This one might seem obvious, but it’s a mistake that a lot of people make, both on their personal and business accounts. It’s easier to leave all your sites open on web browsers but this leaves you open to hackers. Always log out of accounts once you’ve finished using them.

Try not to use public wifi

When using public wifi networks you are left vulnerable to a cyber attack. Surprisingly, using 4G on your mobile is actually more secure than connecting to public wifi. If you are self-employed and often work in public spaces, then click here to find out how to protect yourself from hackers while connecting to public wifi networks.

Familiarise yourself with security settings

Security settings are there for a reason and they’re really helpful! Regularly review them and familiarise yourself with the variety of options available on each platform.

Employee training

Take responsibility for training your staff on how to use social media safely (both personally and professionally). Have a policy in place about the use of social media for both work and non work related purposes. If you would like guidance and support for both training and policy writing please get in touch.

Top 5 Internet Safety Tips for Parents:

Discuss internet safety

The most important thing about protecting children online is to understand how much they already know about systems in place to prevent cyber attacks and online bullying. You can then identify what areas of internet safety you need to talk to them about. The Safer Internet Day website has some helpful resources on how to initiate a conversation with your child about online safety and fun quizzes for 8-13 year olds to test their internet knowledge.

Set up parental controls

Parental controls are an important part of keeping your child safe online. They block websites that you believe to be inappropriate for your child and you can also use them to limit the amount of time that your children spend on the internet.

Use child-safe versions of search engines and popular websites

There are several search engines that are designed specifically for children. These search engines allow them the freedom to use the internet for educational purposes, without the risk of seeing web pages that aren’t appropriate for their age group. Popular social media website YouTube has a child-friendly version, which is a useful function, but isn’t perfect, so it is best to monitor what your child is looking at online, even when the child-friendly versions of websites are being used.

Be share aware

Encourage your children to ask for permission when they are sharing photos of friends and family online. Make sure that they know what kind of information they should and shouldn’t be sharing on social media platforms. This avoids any personal details ending up on the internet. Encourage them to only accept Facebook friend requests from people they know and set public accounts like Twitter and Instagram to private. For information on how to do this, keep an eye out for an upcoming video on the Naturally Social Twitter page.

Cyberbullying

Make children aware of what cyberbullying looks like and how to block and report anyone online who is posting hurtful or upsetting content. Encourage them to report any cyberbullying they see, even if it is not aimed at them and reassure them that reporting someone to social networking websites is anonymous.

 

We hope that our online safety tips have been useful and are a start to helping you, your children and your business stay safe online. If we can be of help further then don’t hesitate to get in touch.

Top Ten Free Social Media Resources

Do you want to improve your business’ social media presence without having to use expensive tools? We get it. That’s why we’ve created this post on our ‘Top Ten Free Social Media Resources’. Happy posting!

Scheduling

  • TweetDeck (and other in-website tools) are a brilliant platform for any business whose sole platform is Twitter. You won’t need to spend money on websites like Hootsuite for scheduling content across multiple channels as you have everything you need for your main social channel. With TweetDeck, you can schedule tweets and check your reach and engagements alongside Twitter Analytics, which are linked within TweetDeck.
  • ColorStory is an app which you can use to edit your Instagram photos and schedule content. It is very easy to use and, as it’s an app, can be done on the go, allowing you to make best use of those little pockets of time in your day.

News and social listening

  • Social Media Examiner is a good website if you’re not sure where to start with social media. They have free reports on how social channels are being used, articles on how to get the best out of social media for your business and a podcast for learning on the go.
  • Google alerts are an easy way of keeping up to date with news in your industry. You can easily set an alert for a key word or phrase and get notified when content appears on Google with this phrase in it.

Photos

  • With Canva you can edit photos to add a quote over them, which is great if you want to post a testimonial or inspirational quote. You can adjust the size of your image to fit a Twitter header or a Facebook post with an image attached. You can also create a flyer, blog banner, or a presentation.
  • Pixabay have copyright free pictures that you can use in your marketing and social media.

Blog and email marketing

  • MailChimp can be used to gather your email subscribers and market to them with flyers and newsletters. MailChimp makes the mail merge a lot easier, allowing you to create lists of contacts and personalise them to a specific receiver- just be careful about GDPR and always get permission to use someone’s email address.
  • WordPress is a blogging platform and a great website builder that is easy to use. Blogging is a good way of keeping your current and potential clients up to date with any news and updates without bombarding them with emails and content. Your blog can also be shared across your other platforms, either in your ‘bio’ or in a post. Updating content on your website is key for SEO too.

Videos

  • iMovie- if you have an iPhone, then this one is for you. You can combine photos and videos to create unique content for your channels, which is great if you have a video shy team! Photos can be put together in a slide show and are categorised as a video, which the Facebook algorithms value more than pictures.
  • Splice is an app that adds music to videos, which is a fun way to make your Instagram posts more engaging. You could even combine your iMovie photo slideshow with music from Splice.

Job Opportunity: PR, Social and Community Manager

Naturally Social is a social-first communications agency with a difference. Shaping what we do is our strong sense of purpose and our passion for people. Our success is measured by our impact, both in terms of the results we deliver for our clients, and our impact on the individuals, communities and society around us. Due to continued growth, we’re looking for a creative communicator to join the team and play a key role in our future development.
Whilst social-media led, we provide a holistic marketing service, working as a team sharing expertise to generate creative, impactful multi-channel campaigns that build brand awareness. We support a wide variety of clients, including private and public-sector organisations and charities, from small owner-managed firms to larger businesses. Therefore, to be successful in this new role, you will have a track record using your creative flair to develop attention grabbing content for a wide variety of industry sectors, adapting your tone and approach to different audiences.
Whether you are a marketing generalist, PR specialist or content marketer, you will have proven experience of integrating social media effectively into your communications campaigns.
Our team members thrive on communicating! We want you to help us put the “social” back into social media, focusing on starting conversations and building connections between people and communities, rather than automating activity. As well as creating engaging content, you’ll also have the opportunity to engage with existing and prospective customers through attending meetings, networking events and conferences. Your confident, friendly personality and inclusive approach will help you to connect with people from a variety of backgrounds. Building effective long-term relationships with your portfolio of clients will enable you to maximise repeat business and work at a more strategic level with organisations on their longer-term marketing plans.
Naturally Social also helps small businesses and in-house teams to improve their own social media capabilities, so any experience of delivering coaching sessions, workshops or training courses would be advantageous.
You will need the ability to inspire and develop junior team members, as well as supervise freelance professionals to deliver work on time to the required standards.
2018 was an exceptional year for Naturally Social. We won at the Wiltshire and Swindon Business Awards, delivered some outstanding campaigns for our clients and our founder became an accredited trainer for Facebook and Instagram. We also gave back to the community by sponsoring awards, providing intern placements and delivered pro bono work where possible. 2019 promises to be no less exciting so if you share our business ethics and passion and have relevant experience and qualifications, make your next career move with Naturally Social!

Location: Trowbridge

Hours: 18 – 20 hours per week

Salary: £21,000 to £23,000 PA depending on experience


For full job spec and to apply, please send your CV and covering letter to natalie@naturallysocial.co.uk by 5pm 11th February 2019.

Intern Blog: The First Month

Interning at Naturally Social has been a great first opportunity after graduating and I already feel like I’ve learnt so much since I started in December. I have received a lot of support and training, including sales and PR courses which have taught me skills that I can apply, not just to my role at Naturally Social, but also to every day tasks.

The sales course taught me that everyone has different ways they want to be sold to- one of the main points was not to treat someone how you’d want to be treated, treat them how they want to be treated- this is what gets sales. The main takeaway from the PR course was that ‘marketing is telling people how great your product/business is. PR is getting other people to tell them.’ My top tip for getting PR coverage would be to get the whole story in the first paragraph, so the press and the public know exactly what it is you’re doing in a short space of time. My tip for writing a press release is to put the contact information somewhere in the middle of the article so it won’t get cut out by the editor, like it would if it was at the end. It has been great to network with the other people attending the courses and hear their business stories and advice they have for someone who is in the first stages of building a career.

One of the things I’m really enjoying about the internship is that every day is different and there’s always a lot to do. A great example of this is when, on my first day, I went to BBC radio studios in Swindon with Natalie while she did an interview with them about various topics that were in the news. After the interview, we got a tour of the studios, which was interesting to see what goes on behind the scenes.

More recently, I was lucky enough to be able to attend a Women Mean Biz networking event where I got to talk to lots of incredibly hard-working women who are building their businesses. There were presentations from two people about their businesses and it was encouraging to hear about how women in male dominated industries (IT and insurance) have succeeded in their careers. These women used their experiences to improve the industries they’re in and make positive changes for other women. I was also pleasantly surprised by how many people had built up businesses with the aim of helping others- one of the main reasons why I wanted to intern for Naturally Social is because the company has a ‘purpose before profit’ ethos and is focused on positively benefiting the local community. It was great to see that lots of other people also have that mindset.

A big part of Naturally Social’s business is training courses and I have been able to observe how Natalie delivers these. Attending the courses has been really helpful for me to see how a business can make the most of its social channels and how techniques for social media can be explained in a way that is easy to understand. Some key social media techniques for business are:

  • Schedule some content for a better work/life balance.
  • Have a progress tracker for all your social media channels to help evaluate what’s working.
  • Follow up on client engagements- be social!
  • Keep an eye on your audience insights because these will tell you when you should be posting to get the best engagement and conversion rates.

What I like most about the workshops is seeing the difference in clients’ attitudes at the end of the training session, compared to at the beginning. Before Natalie delivers the training, people often seem overwhelmed and apprehensive, thinking that social media is confusing and not for them. After the courses, clients are so much more positive and confident. They go away full of great ideas and really are excited to put what they have learnt into practice. It’s incredibly rewarding seeing the positive impact that Naturally Social has on people and this has been my favourite part of working here so far.

I’m looking forward to seeing what the coming months will bring and I will keep you updated with what we get up to on the blog.