How Can Your Business Benefit From Social Media Marketing?

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 creating a social media presence or 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, and this is something that you will need to bear in mind when creating content. Have a look at audience demographics for different platforms and 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 because 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 have a 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) as this is what they tend to engage most with. When targeting an older audience on Facebook, it might be more beneficial to post content using the traditional newsfeed format.

 

Engage with your audience

 

Consumers have always valued good customer service and with social media changing the way in which customer service is delivered, it is more important than ever to share positive feedback with your community and reply to any concerns that your customers might have.

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 the value of your business to potential customers, as well as creating 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, but 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, and Keyhole is a good website for tracking whether mentions of your brand are positive or negative across Twitter and Instagram.

 

Schedule your 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 that you can use to create your 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 are planning on holding 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 – and that’s where we add the biggest value for our clients; taking the pressure off, working as an extension to the team and understanding the business inside out so we can create social media content that really represents them and works towards achieving their business or organisational goals.

If you would like any of your social media questions answered, then get in touch.

We’re finalists for The Techies!

This month we found out that we have been chosen as finalists for The Techies Awards in the Best User Experience category!

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

We are a communications agency that has been established since 2015, who put purpose before profit. We help charities to raise money through social media, give small businesses a voice that cuts through the social media noise and run easy to understand workshops that show delegates how they can use social media to help achieve their business goals.

At Naturally Social, user experience is at the core of what we do. Our priority is that our clients are happy with the work that we do, and we always ensure that the services we deliver are of the highest possible standard. We make our social media workshops fun and easy to understand and this is why we often hear our delegates saying that they are not only no longer afraid to use social media, but they are excited to start creating great content for their channels.

As well as the various public and in-house workshops we deliver throughout the year, 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 and deliver a social media strategy that is tailored to their aims. We understand that social media marketing can be a time-consuming task to undertake, which is why we work as an extension to our client’s businesses and create engaging content, so that they have more time to focus on their businesses.

As a team that cares about local businesses and third sector organisations, we love hearing about our client’s success stories. One of our clients is local charity, Wiltshire Air Ambulance, who we helped 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, helping them to advertise job vacancies and increase their visibility on social media. When we deliver training sessions for our clients, we always make sure that we create a relaxed environment where they feel free to ask questions at any point during the training so that they have an enjoyable experience that is tailored to them and can leave feeling like they have the best possible understanding of social media for their business.

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

Wish us luck and if you would like to keep up to date about how we get on, then follow us on Twitter and Instagram. For more information about The Techies, follow them on Twitter.

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.