person sitting at desk with laptop

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.

social media

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.

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.

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.

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.

Social Media for Business: timeless tips

As another global social media week comes to a close and as many of us start getting ready for the last quarter of the year, this is the time of year when typically we refocus our energy and work to drive forward plans and ideas. With that in mind, I’ve pulled together some timeless tips that will help you succeed when using social media for your business.

A key point to remember is that it doesn’t matter what platform you use or how many for that matter, the rules of engagement apply across the spectrum and they apply to you no matter how big your company is or how long you’ve been online for.

1. Manage your time effectively.

Being active on social media can take up a lot of your time, especially when you factor in the ‘social’ of social media that reminds us we need to engage with our audience, not simply broadcast to them. SO, in order to ensure you don’t get overwhelmed, and to help manage your time effectively, focus on doing one thing well. Short or long term it’s much better to have a content rich, value led, profile on one channel than having a presence on 3, 4 or 5 different ones and hardly updating them or choosing to auto post from one to another in order to manage them.

2. Know your audience

Following on from point one: find out where (the majority of) your audience hang out online and then set yourself up there. There’s a number of ways you can do this: survey your customers to find out where they want to communicate with you, look at the latest industry reports such as this one from Ofcom, and even research your competitors to find out where they’re getting the most success.

3. Fall in love with the problem

Another way to determine where to focus your social media efforts is to fall in love with the problem you’re trying to solve. Each channel has it’s own unique functionalities that will better serve one objective to another and I’m a strong believer in the ability to onboard your audience to any channel, as long as you have a compelling reason for them to join you there. As an example, when I was working in local government one ‘problem’ we had to solve was how to support families moving from Germany to Wiltshire  ahead of them arriving. We needed to give them information on housing, schools and jobs as well as help to put them at ease by answering any questions they may have. Doing this online was a cost effective way to deliver this and would allow us to do so in a personable and direct manner. So, I proposed using Google Hangouts (a function of Google+). At the time, Google+ was the only place I was aware of where you could hold private group video chats for free so it was best placed as our channel of choice for that audience! The other way was to (solely) create web pages of information and email the link to people…from a user perspective I know what I’d have valued more.

4. Use video

No matter your channel of choice, video is becoming the focal point of content creation. Most social media sites give you the ability to create video ‘in app’ now too, which makes it accessible to everyone, no matter what your budget and experience. LinkedIn recently joined the party, Snapchat now allows you to continuously record up to a minute of video clips and Facebook has prioritised native video over links to third party sites for quite a while. Live streaming is also a format to consider, and I speak about this a lot as it’s a trend that will continue into 2018. Instagram added live streaming to their stories function at the end of last year and around the same time Twitter updated it’s app to allow users to Go Live within the app too (as opposed to using it’s streaming site ‘Periscope’ separately.) Facebook rolled out live streaming to pages from the desktop version of their site this year too.

5. Quality over Quantity

Always. Some platforms lend themselves to multiple posts a day and others not so much, but please don’t be convinced that you need to be churning out content just so you can be in people’s newsfeed. Me? I always focus on posting when I have something interesting to say or can share something that is engaging and of value to my audience. What happens when you don’t follow the Q/Q model? Your audience becomes made up of passive followers, stopping briefly at your post, scrolling past and in the end, as a result, they stop seeing your content. This is because many channels use a code that determines who sees what you post and that’s largely based on who engages with you regularly.

That’s all for now! Let me know your thoughts of if you have any questions….thank you to everyone who watched my LinkedIn videos this week too! If you missed them then head over to my profile for a peek. Hopefully we’re connected!

Have a great weekend..

people sat facing a window networking

The art of networking.

I’ve recently joined a monthly networking group as part of a strategy to grow my business. One of the great things this group offers is regular training opportunities – workshops of a couple of hours in length on a range of topics. Specifically, the founder runs a workshop on networking which I went along to earlier in the summer.

It was a great workshop full of helpful pointers and tips about how to get the most of my membership and what it means to network successfully. So much of the content resonated with me and in fact, inspired me to write this blog post.

A large part of my business entails me not only working one on one with individuals who are looking to use social media in their business, but I also deliver presentations. Mainly around the benefits of social media, but also about etiquette and positioning yourself online.

One of the most common questions or concerns that holds people back from even getting started on social media is ‘What do I do when I’m there?’ ‘What do I say?’ ‘How do I behave?’

I always like to share this little pearl as a starting point – ‘communicating online is no different to communicating offline.’ I also like to highlight that it’s the platforms we use that are called ‘social media’ and the act of using them is referred to as ‘social networking’. So, put your best self forward, be polite, be generous, be present. Show up. Sound familiar? (Hopefully yes!)

For the non digital natives out there (Baby Boomers, Generation X), communicating online doesn’t come naturally. And for the Millennials amongst us who get the social side it’s still sometimes difficult to see how our Facebook account or Instagram feed can be used to generate business.

There were so many commonalities between the content covered in Philippa’s networking workshop and what I often cover in my mentoring programme and presentations that I wanted to share. I hope that for those struggling with the how’s of what’s of communicating online these three comparisons will give you the confidence to go forth, adopt the right behaviours and invest the time in doing social well.

“Business networking is not a numbers game. Being connected to lots of people will not necessarily make you more successful.”

People think more followers, more connections and more page likes is a success measure by default. They think if they don’t have those numbers it’s not working for them or that someone is better than they are. Social media is not a numbers game either. It’s about how you build that community and subsequently how you nurture it. Speak to 2 people as if you were talking to 2000 and you’ll be just fine…

“Having made a great first impression we need to ensure we engage in conversation”

As you begin to gain (more) followers, page likes and connections don’t forget to get to know them and help them to get to know you. Don’t go silent or simply send automated tweets. You would never walk in to a room full of people, shout about your latest offer or business venture and then walk out again (or at least I hope you don’t!)

“People buy people”

One of the benefits to networking face to face is the ability to see a group of people regularly, get to know about them and their business and as a result build a trust between you that hopefully leads to referrals on both sides when the need arises. This can also be done online. Yep!

Share pictures of you in your business and working with clients. Don’t be afraid to share updates that help to give a sense of who you are outside of work. Think about your hobbies, family life, favourite tv shows. Be aware also of how you ‘talk’ online. Your personality can shine through in the way you write your updates. Don’t forget to listen, reply to and acknowledge comments and conversations in your network either – something that naturally you would do when networking face to face.

“Networking is an opportunity to not only learn, seek help and meet new people but a place to support others, build relationships and your reputation.”

There’s plenty of other elements that make up good [social] networking. If you want to have a chat about it, then I’d love to hear from you. Get in touch via my website or you can tweet me @nlysocial