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Social Media Marketing – How Your Business Can Benefit

Social media is no longer a marketing tool that is used solely by big global businesses. Smaller, local businesses and charities are now capitalising on the benefits that an effective social media strategy can offer. We understand that developing your social media strategy can be daunting, which is why we wanted to write this blog post! Here are some of our top tips to get you going…

Always have your brand identity in mind

Branding is one of the most important things when it comes to targeting your current and ideal audience. Different platforms attract different age groups, so bear this in mind when creating content. Have a look at audience demographics for different platforms. Think about what channels your current and target audience might be on. Align your tone of voice and brand design with your social media presence. Having a strong brand persona will create a solid connection with your brand in your audience’s mind. This will form part of your social media audit and overall strategy.

Adapt your content delivery accordingly

Once you have identified what platform your audience is on, the next step is to adapt your content accordingly. Do your research and think about what content format your audience will be most likely to engage with. When appealing to Millennials and Generation Z, it might be best to deliver your content in short snackable chunks (such as stories). This type of content is what they tend to engage with most. When targeting an older audience on Facebook, it might be more beneficial to post content using the traditional newsfeed format.

Use social media to engage with your audience

Consumers have always valued good customer service. With social media changing the way in which customer service is delivered, it is becoming increasingly important to share positive feedback and address any concerns your customers raise.

Positive feedback is great for creating original content on your channels. We often use Canva to overlay words on to an image that represents the message as a way to make it look more visually appealing. Sharing feedback is a great way to showcase the value of your business to potential customers. It also has the advantage of giving you original content for your channels.

It’s worth remembering that even the best businesses receive the occasional piece of negative feedback. The most important thing to remember is that negative feedback should be dealt with in a positive and constructive way. This will ensure that your customers remain happy and is a fantastic opportunity to build a good reputation for your brand.

Use social listening

When consumers talk about your brand, they won’t always tag your social channels. Don’t worry, you can still keep track of what your audience are saying about your business – this is what social listening is for.

Social listening isn’t just important for finding out what people are saying about your brand. You can also use it to see what your ideal client is talking about. By knowing the interests of your current and potential clients, you can create content that they are more likely to discover and engage with.

Social listening can also be used to stay one step ahead of your competitors. Take note of what they are doing and have a think about why it is – or isn’t – working. This will help when considering the next steps for your social media channels.

You can conduct social listening using various tools. Google Alerts are an easy and cost-effective way of keeping track of what people are saying about you and your competitors. TweetDeck allows you to monitor mentions of certain words that people are tweeting about. If you’re looking to track whether mentions of your brand are positive or negative Keyhole is a good website for this.

Schedule your social media content

Time and resources are often a barrier to making social media work well, and scheduling tools can help you with this. There are various platforms you can use to create content ahead of time and decide when it will be posted.

We like to use Hootsuite and Later here at Naturally Social. They’re easy to use and it also allows you to track your profile analytics too.

Our advice when scheduling content is to keep track of what’s going out and when. If you plan an event which gets moved to a different date, make sure that you check your scheduled posts and amend the dates in those too. Try not to schedule too far in advance either!

Alternatively, you may benefit from in-sourcing a specialist social media team. This is where we add the biggest value for our clients. We take the pressure off, working as an extension to the team. We understand the business inside out so we can create social media content that really represents our clients and works towards achieving their business or organisational goals.

If you would like any of your social media questions answered, then get in touch via our website, Facebook or Twitter.

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April Monthly Intern Blog: We’re award nominees!

April has been another busy month at Naturally Social! This month we became a Limited company and found out that we are finalists in The Techies awards!

This month I have been doing a lot of work around the office. I’ve been writing social media strategies for clients, doing hashtag research and analysing email marketing campaigns.

Writing a Social Media Strategy

Writing a social media strategy is the basis for a business’ effective social media presence. Therefore, it takes a lot of time to research, produce content ideas and edit. Writing a strategy involves assessing clients’ business objectives and goals and planning a way to fulfil these using social media. It’s good to think about what’s already working, what could be improved and tactics that could increase brand awareness and engagement. I enjoy this because it involves understanding a business and also assesses how we can help them reach their goals.

Hashtag Research

Hashtag research helps to inform a social media strategy and is something I’ve been working on this month. Using hashtags makes content more likely to be found by a target audience on social media. Hashtags can be searched and the content that has been posted using that hashtag is gathered in one place. It’s good to know what channels to use hashtags on (some are better than others) and what hashtags users are engaging with. Instagram and Twitter are good channels to use hashtags on because they are often searched on these platforms. While hashtags can be used on Facebook, it’s a less effective platform for hashtags because they’re not often searched.

Different hashtags can be used for different purposes. Industry hashtags can be used to target people looking for a specific service or product. Location hashtags can make content visible to people in a certain area. My tip would be to take notice of how many posts there are under the hashtags you search. Also note how often content is posted using certain hashtags. It is easy to fall into the trap of posting under a popular hashtag, thinking that your post will be seen more. However, it’s unlikely that many people will see your post because these hashtags are over-saturated with content. The best thing that you can do is find some middle ground. Try applying hashtags that are used enough to be searched by your ideal client, but not so much that your content is going to get lost within all the other posts.

Email Marketing

Another form of marketing that I have become more familiar with this month is email marketing. In past months, I have had practice in sending out the monthly newsletter for Naturally Social. This month I got some more experience of how to deliver an effective email marketing campaign. I learnt more about measuring success rates in a campaign by analysing a client’s email marketing data on MailChimp. I found successful tactics that could be copied and suggested things that could be implemented to further improve their strategy.

New Designs

Towards the end of the month, I sat in on a meeting that Natalie had with a designer to talk about plans for Naturally Social’s new branding. It was great to be able to see the different stages of the design process and what the vision is for Naturally Social going forward.

I will keep you updated about what’s going on. Next month we have two award evenings, so I’m sure it will be just as busy!

We’re Best User Experience finalists for The Techies!

This month we found out that we’re finalists for The Techies Awards in the Best User Experience category!

What are The Techies?

The Techies is run by The Business Exchange and acknowledges the hard work of the Swindon and Wiltshire IT community. They run annually and are the first award scheme in the area to recognise the work of people in IT. The awards night will take place on 9th May at Hartham Park.

What do we do?

Naturally Social is a purpose before profit communications agency that was founded in 2015. We help charities raise money via social media and give SME’s a voice that cuts through the social media noise. We also run easy to understand workshops that show delegates how to use social media to achieve their business goals.

Why were we chosen as finalists?

At Naturally Social, user experience is at the core of what we do. Our priority is making sure that clients are happy with the work we do. We make sure that the services we deliver are of the highest possible standard. Our social media workshops are fun and easy to understand, which is why we often hear our delegates saying that they are no longer afraid to use social media and are excited to create great content for their channels.

What services do we offer?

As well as the many workshops we deliver, we also offer social media management services for businesses that want to outsource their social media support. We listen to our client’s goals and needs, then create a social media strategy that is tailored to their aims. We understand that social media marketing can be a lengthy task to undertake, which is why we work as an extension to our client’s businesses. Our aim is to create engaging content, so that our clients have more time to focus on their businesses.

Who have we worked with?

As a team who care about local businesses and charities, we love hearing our client’s success stories. One of our clients is local charity, Wiltshire Air Ambulance. We helped them to raise £10,000 in under 72 hours through social media. We have also worked with local care company, Home Instead, to deliver in-house training and 1:1 mentoring for their staff. Subsequently, this helped them to advertise job vacancies and increase their visibility on social media. In our training sessions, we aim to create a relaxed atmosphere where everyone feels free to ask questions. This means that our clients have an enjoyable experience, tailored to them. As a result, our sessions leave delegates feeling like they have the best possible understanding of social media for business.

We are so pleased that our efforts to ensure that our clients receive the best user experience have been recognised. We are looking forward to an evening celebrating the hard work and successes of local businesses.

Wish us luck and if you’d like to know how we get on, then follow us on Twitter and Instagram. For more information about The Techies, follow them on Twitter.

Internship Blog: March

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

Networking

On the first of the month, I attended 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. However, 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.

International Women’s Day

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

Awards

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.

Social Media Strategy and Facebook Ads

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. This 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.

Meetings

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. It was great to see first hand what it is they do and hear about their aims for the future. I also had the chance to visit Gloucestershire Golf Union and hear about their plans for upcoming events.

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

Wiltshire Business Award Nominations!

We have been short-listed for the Wiltshire Business Awards, which take place on 10th May 2019 at Centerparcs Longleat. Natalie, our founder, is up for Best Business Person. Also, 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 are a social first communications agency with an interest in helping businesses and charities that put purpose before profit. We offer social media consultancy and management services to our clients. Our aim is to create great content for clients so that they can focus on their business. We also offer public training courses, including a course on ‘How to Create a Successful Social Media Strategy’.

We are lucky enough to have gone to 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 up for an award in 2018, making 2019 the third year we will be at the awards.

The Wiltshire Business Awards are a yearly event, made to celebrate the hard work of businesses in Wiltshire. We are happy to be part of this year’s awards as it is their 25th anniversary.

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

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

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February Monthly Internship Blog

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.

Love Your Pet Day

This month we were planning posts for Love Your Pet Day. This 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. This involved putting together the photos with the right words that fit with their business’ online presence.

Safer Internet Day

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 what I learned on the PR course. 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. This was designed to encourage 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 catch the attention of local press. Attending the course meant that the press release I wrote got picked up by local press, including the Wiltshire Times. They attended on the day to take photos for an article that was later published in their newspaper.

Public Training Courses

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, there are inevitably a variety of questions that get asked. This is something I am constantly learning from. I also like learning about the different businesses of the delegates, what they enjoy doing 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 positives of social media. 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)…

Social Media for Social Good

Last year I had the opportunity to deliver a Ted-X inspired talk at Wiltshire Council in Trowbridge. The talk was 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. 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 social media platforms.

Sharing

Social Media is, for many, a massive part of our lives. It has the power to affect our mental well-being 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?!

Raising Awareness

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. However, 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. It also 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. High profile personalities shared 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…

Good News

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. They will brighten up your social media accounts and remind your followers that it’s not all doom and gloom. Go and download it today!

Social Media Making a Positive Difference

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.

Safer Internet Day Success at Local Primary School

The Social Media Landscape

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’. 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. This makes it difficult to keep up with all the privacy settings, child-friendly versions and parental controls available. That is why Safer Internet Day was created.

Education

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.

Assembly

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. We then 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. This 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.

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Social Media Resources: Our Top 10

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

  • Firstly, 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. 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.
  • Secondly, ColorStory is an app which you can use to edit your Instagram photos and schedule content. It’s very easy to use and, as it’s an app, can be done on the go, allowing you to make the most 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 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 add text over photos, which is great for posting 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 mail merge a lot easier because you can create lists of contacts and personalise them to the receiver. However, be careful about GDPR and always get permission before you 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. Additionally, your blog can be shared across your other platforms, either in your ‘bio’ or in a post. Also, updating content on your website is key for SEO.

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.

Intern Blog: The First Month

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

Professional Development Courses

The sales course taught me that everyone has different ways they want to be sold to. Above all, don’t 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. Therefore, 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. This means 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. I’ve enjoyed hearing their business stories and advice they have for someone who is in the first stages of building a career.

BBC Radio Wiltshire

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.

Networking

This month, I was lucky enough to be able to attend a Women Mean Biz networking event. I got to talk to lots of incredibly hard-working women who are building their businesses. There were presentations from two women about their businesses. 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.

Training and Workshops

A big part of Naturally Social’s business is training courses and this month 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.

My favourite part of the workshops is seeing the clients grow in confidence. Before Natalie delivers the training, people often seem overwhelmed and apprehensive. They think 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. This has been my favourite part of working here so far.

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