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!

month safer internet day

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.

Guest Blog: Creating #IBDHour

Towards the end of last year I had to pleasure of being contacted by someone who had an idea, a thought and a passion…but needed to understand how to harness social to deliver it. Richard became a mentoring client of mine and over the course of 4 weeks we looked at goals, channels and approaches. What would be best to get him there; what could be dropped, parked or developed. One of the main things that came out of our initial meeting was the potential (and desire) for Richard to become a thought leader in the IBD / health sector. As a sufferer it was something he had begun blogging about and was actually directing some of his creative aspirations around spoken word poetry and performance.

A great way to position yourself as a thought leader in any sector is to take part in, and (better yet!) establish, twitter hours. By guiding Richard through etiquette of twitter hours, best practice, ideas and the tools that would help manage the content, his very first #IBDHour was a huge success and this month even see’s his first #IBDHour take over – hosted by a key influencer in the community. Go Richard!! Here’s how he did it:

“Hi, I’m Richard. I’m 35, a married father of 1 and I had to have my colon removed before it exploded. I’m one of the roughly 146,000 people in the UK with Ulcerative Colitis, a form of inflammatory bowel disease (IBD).

I was diagnosed in 2005, and had that first surgery just 4 months later. Since then I’ve had four more major surgeries and now have a permanent ileostomy (a type of stoma) and have to wear a bag to collect my waste.

There are lots of examples of IBD support groups and forums online, many of them on Facebook. However there wasn’t much on Twitter in the UK despite there being several active bloggers and patient advocates using the platform. And so, with Natalie’s help, I started #IBDHour.

What is #IBDHour?

#IBDHour is a monthly Twitter hour for people with inflammatory bowel disease – usually ulcerative colitis or Crohn’s Disease. It runs on the third Thursday of the month at 8pm UK time, and started in September 2016. So far we have discussed diagnosis, where people access support, exercise and IBD, managing the festive party season and in January how to get the most from the NHS as a patient with a chronic condition. There have been steadily increasing numbers, and we get new participants every time. In February, we are having our first guest host, top IBD Blogger and influencer Thaila Skye 

Why a Twitter hour?

Having decided I wanted to move beyond my own blog and participation in other online activities to do with IBD, I thought about what I could add to what was already existing. There are plenty of existing Facebook groups and forums, and I also needed to do something that I could manage in the time available to me, so monthly was appealing. I also love Twitter – it is my favourite social media platform, and so the #IBDHour came into being. I then set up an account, and added some pages to my blog to give it a home. And for #IBDHour the point is to generate discussion, and create connections between patients.

How Does it Work?

I use Hootsuite to schedule tweets promoting the event in the run up – with a two week and one week countdown and theme reveal. I then do a three and two day reminder, and then several tweets on the day to build interest. I draft the Tweets and my own answers to the questions, and then use TweetDeck to follow the hashtag and RT all the responses. And a proper mouse plugged in to my laptop is a great help!

I’ve used Canva & WordSwag to generate graphics, and after each event I use Storify to record what happened – and then publish that link on my blog.

What have I learnt?

Since the first event I’ve been working to get the balance of questions and discussion time. I’ve found that a prompt start and finish is appreciated, and you need to keep a close eye on the mentions for late comers looking for questions (I don’t publish them in advance). Interacting with participants during and after is important too – thanking them for RT reminders for example. So although the event is only an hour a month, there is something to do each week.

It has been well received, and there is a small group of regular participants, as well as new tweeters each time – and a few lurkers.

What’s the point?

It’s hard to convey how isolating having a chronic condition can be, and anything that brings people together to support each other is a good thing. One of my favourite examples of the impact it had came from a lady called Stina, who had only recently had surgery, and she couldn’t imagine getting back to her old life. This tweet from her was a response to our ‘Exercise & IBD’ discussion:

@chicbeauty tweeting about IBD

Twitter Hours are quite easy to set up and run if you can manage the tools available to you which support them. You need to be consistent, pitch the frequency right for your audience and find the rhythm of the questions. It’s a frantic hour, but it can be a rewarding one!”

Richard Harris

https://gutlessdick.com

@doobarz – Twitter/ Instagram/ Snapchat

@IBDHour – Twitter

Hosting a Twitter hour – the man behind #WiltsHour

It’s time for another guest blog post and this month, Jamie Tuck, the man behind the ever growing #WiltsHour took 5 minutes to tell us a bit more about himself and what it’s taken to make a success of this Wiltshire wide twitter hour.

Twitter hours are a fantastic way to build  your network, spread awareness about who you are, what you do and what you know. If you haven’t joined in a twitter hour before, all you need is your phone or laptop, a twitter account and a hashtag! Set yourself a reminder before it’s due to start, sit back and start tweeting. Just remember to engage with what others are saying as well as post your own udpates!

“Natalie recently asked me if I’d considered writing a blog about WiltsHour; to be honest it’s something I’ve been thinking about for some time, and as the community has grown there might be the odd person interested in how it started.

First off there’s me, Jamie Tuck – WiltsHour’s “Mr Wiltshire” if I can claim that title! I’m also Bulldog Websites’ Social Media man. I live in Swindon with my ever-patient wife and two children who’d give the Duracell bunny a run for his money. A pretty average guy but I go from zero to tech nut in the time it takes to unlock my iPhone – I’m crazy about technology, just ask my wife (see reference to ‘ever-patient’!).

Why did I set up WiltsHour?

After quietly working away in social media for a few years I became nosey. I’ve always taken an interest in the vast array of business genres in the local area, and I already ‘attended’ several Twitter business hours under my Bulldog Websites hat. But I noticed there wasn’t anything that brought together the Wiltshire business community.

In February 2016 WiltsHour was born. I set up the Twitter page, bought the domain name for a potential website, readied a logo and set about deciding on a day and time to fit in with modern life and any type of business joining us to promote themselves. I felt Monday night was perfect after a short break over the weekend and 8pm giving enough time for the commute to be done, tea made, kids in bed and pjs on, comfy on the sofa … or maybe that’s just me – it turns out some members join us from the gym, karate class, the train, and on holiday abroad – that’s commitment!

I went on to build a website to complement the purpose of the hour – a business directory to help promote Wiltshire businesses further.

When the hour went live who knew where it would go, if anyone would bother taking part. Working on my own to drum up interest and interact with everyone who joined in, it didn’t take long to spread the word about WiltsHour. Today we have over a thousand followers and 100 business listed on the website.

Why has WiltsHour Worked?

WiltsHour has worked and is continuing to grow because of the constant support of Wiltshire businesses and my persistent nosiness. I’m always intrigued to see what your business has to offer and to make sure everyone else knows about it too.

What have I learnt from WiltsHour?

Interaction is the key to make any project work on social media. No one wants an automated robot. People are sick of it. I’m sick of it.

I always aim to welcome new participants during the hour and chat to as many businesses as I can to make them feel comfortable with promoting their business, become my friend and find other local businesses to collaborate with, which is why I feel WiltsHour is such a great success today.

 Where can I see WiltsHour next Year?

Just seeing WiltsHour grow and helping small businesses broaden their advertising platform and attract new clients is always a massive achievement.

Please do keep supporting the hour and you never know what new services could be coming to WiltsHour soon.

Thank you Wiltshire!!

You can follow WiltsHour on twitter – @wiltshour  and remember to use the hashtag #WiltsHour”

pedal show logo

Guest Blog: That Pedal Show – a YouTube success story

Since my social media career began I’ve always been hungry to seek out (and be involved with!) amazing examples of social media being used above and beyond simply tools for content distribution – i.e. more than just tweeting links to latest press releases or a place you can pump out messages about why you’re greater than competitors. Social media has the potential to be and gives us the opportunity to be, so much more than that and you truly reap the benefits when it is, which is why creativity is always at the top of my advice giving and speech making! When you push the boundaries, look at how your communities use social and ask how you can use these channels to provide value – amazing things happen. The purpose of my guest blogs have always been to showcase this, with a particular objective (for now) to showcase businesses and organisations based here in Wiltshire, so it’s with great pleasure and excitement that this month Daniel Steinhardt of The Gig Rig and That Pedal Show wrote a piece for me about the phenomenal success of his YouTube channel…Enjoy.

 

Hi, my name is Daniel Steinhardt, in my professional life I’m a guitarist, small business owner, and dare I say it, entrepreneur. To be honest I don’t attach any real meaning to that word other than I’m a terrible employee so I had to find a different way of making money.

As I write this I’m watching our YouTube subscriber’s numbers, and any minute now we’re going to hit 50,000.

*49965

I’ve always been fascinated by the guitar, the physicality of it, the way it takes not one but two hands to create a note. Since the age of 5 I have been totally engrossed in the instrument, indeed far more than appropriate for my modicum of talent. The sound totally connected with me, and when I discovered that you could plug this thing into an amplifier and turn it up loud, well, that was pretty much the end of any other possible career for me.

*49971

One aspect of the sound of the electric guitar that I loved was the effect pedal. A little box that you can plug between your guitar and amp, and when you step on it, it creates a totally different sound. Distortion, compression, delay, reverb, chorus, phasing, flanging, the list goes on and on. And when you combine these pedals you can find some truly amazing and inspirational sounds. The issue at the time was if you wanted to create combinations you looked more like a professional tap dancer than a guitarist, so I came up with a solution that allowed guitar players to plug in all their effect pedals and pre-program combinations of these things. I found a business partner with complimentary skills and a company was born called ‘TheGigRig’, however, the challenge was, as this was a new concept, we needed to educate the market first, before we could really sell in any significant numbers. So we started a YouTube channel, posting instructional and product demo videos.

 *49985

YouTube was great but we didn’t see any real significant numbers for a long time. The videos we’re fine, I spent ages trying to make them the best I could, but I really didn’t have any idea what I was doing. I just knew that seeing as our product was so niche, and only available direct online, not through retailers, a video presentation was the best chance my customers were to have to experience the unit without actually being in front of one. We carried on with meagre results for years, then we had our first incredible YouTube experience. I was asked to build a pedalboard for Ed O’Brien from Radiohead. I filmed the process and graciously Ed agreed that we could film him when he came to pick up the board. I really had no idea that people would like it but to date that particular video has had over 400,000 views. It was amazing, it gave the business a real boost, and I really thought ‘this is it, we’re on our way’. I thought surely all our new videos would get fantastic numbers. Improved, yes, but a long way from fantastic. I even did another video with Ed but it had barely a quarter views of the first. The head scratching continued.

 *49999

2 years ago I was at a trade show in L.A. with a very good friend of mine who happens to be an amazing content creator. I was after some tips on how we could improve our channel but our conversation very quickly shifted to talking about gear and effect pedals, what was new, what was great, what we loved, and what was questionable. It something we’re both really passionate about. Then we had the moment that we will always be able to look back at and attribute our success to. Mick says to me, “This is what we should be filming, this, our conversation!”. We had no great ambition with it, we just thought we could literally film our conversation, show examples, and the most important decision we made right from the start, we wouldn’t be sales men, we wouldn’t take any money off anyone to demo products, we would only show what we wanted to show. There are other very successful YouTube channels that get paid to demo products, and they’re great but we wanted to do something different, the opinions on the show would be our own, not paid for. We would need to find a different way to generate revenue but we would work out the details later. We made a start and filmed the first episode of That Pedal Show.

*50005 (yes!)

After 10 months on TheGigRig channel we knew that That Pedal Show needed its own home. It took just 9 months from our first show on our new channel to hit, literally right now, 50k subscribers. With over 2.5 million views, That Pedal Show is now its own brand, and even though I’ve never sold any of the gear that my company makes on the show, it’s of course on there every week, and it’s had a very direct effect on our sales.

 I realize now why the initial Ed video was so popular, it was his honest enthusiastic reaction to the pedalboard I made him. That Pedal Show is a success precisely for the reason that we’re not selling anything, we’re just speaking about things that we’re genuinely passionate about. It’s the genuine passion that comes across and connects with people.

We were invited to meet someone from YouTube who pointed out to us that our average watch time per video is over 12 and a half minutes, while the average view time on YouTube is less than a minute. So my only advice is engage with your audience over something you are genuinely passionate about, that’s where you’ll truly make a connection with people who care about the same things you do.

*If you know any businesses or organisations in Wiltshire using social media creatively I’d love to hear about them! Please get in touch

Pinterest board from Creative Wiltshire account

Guest Blog: Pinterest at the Wiltshire and Swindon History Centre.

Here in the UK we haven’t been able to make use of the e-commerce buttons on Pinterest, which is a huge benefit to businesses who show case their products on the platform. So I get asked a lot what’s the benefit of being there, does it have a role in our strategy? I often argue that the best outcomes on social media happen when you use it creatively, not simply to broadcast your selling spiel, make connections and link to your press releases! Put your community first, involve your community in a way that meets your objectives! The Wiltshire and Swindon History do just that, and there use of Pinterest just sits so well hand in hand with what they do I couldn’t not ask them to blog about it for me!
“Over the last few years we’ve been gradually developing our social media use here at the
Wiltshire and Swindon History Centre. It’s been a really important part of engaging with
people who may not otherwise come into contact with our collections, and has enabled us
to be an active part of a wider network of heritage organisations.
Pinterest is one of the platforms we choose to have a presence on mainly for the simple reason it
enables us to make better and more enhanced use of the images we pick for our weekly blogs.
We’re lucky to have various departments based at the History Centre in Chippenham
including archives, local studies, archaeology, arts, buildings record, museums and
conservation. Our weekly blog cycles around the different teams
and means we can share our collections and highlight all the exciting projects that go on. So,
lots of the images we add to Pinterest come from our blogs (both old and new). This has the
added advantage that we have the background information to the image ready-made! We’ve
found that any way to save time makes it easier to keep things regularly monitored and
updated.
It’s also been a way for us to showcase projects or particular themes. We’re currently in the
middle of Creative Wiltshire  – a really exciting HLF-funded ‘collecting cultures’ project: collecting and celebrating the best of Wiltshire’s creative talent. Pinterest is perfect for this as we can share the beautiful artwork, objects and photographs that we possess at the centre, which we have collected from the museums across Wiltshire.
Of course we are limited by copyright in what we can upload, but it’s still a great tool. We can make material accessible in a highly visual and less ephemeral way than Twitter.
One of our most popular boards has been WW1. It’s been a really valuable way to place our
collection material into the wider context of a national commemorative event. One of the
topics we ‘follow’ is ‘World War 1’ and looking at all the tagged pins under that umbrella
shows how unique Pinterest is in being able to juxtapose material that couldn’t necessarily
be united in real life.help needed
A personal favourite board of mine on our account is the ‘We Need Your Help!’board – which directly engages our community and our followers and seeks out their wealth of knowledge. We upload pictures of historical items and places that have had us stumped in the hope that a member of our community might be able to help identify them and it always proves popular. A recent success has been a black and white photograph of a Wiltshire town that we couldn’t locate. A fellow pinner saw it, and was able to tell us exactly where it was and even how the location had been re-developed since. How lovely it was to hear their memories and comparisons. That information was then added to our catalogue record – problem solved!
So far we’ve been fairly conservative with our boards – focusing on showcasing the different
aspects of the History Centre. My plan going forwards is to get creative and be more
playful…. Magnificent moustaches board anyone??”
Naomi Sackett, Community History Advisor