Social Media Tips

Useful and practical Social Media tips for your business, charity or organisation

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Supercharge your business post-Brexit with social media

One week ago the UK awoke to the surprising and for some shocking news that the British public had voted to leave the EU. Now that the dust has settled a little I thought I would take a look at what action marketers and small business owners can take to make the most of social media post Brexit.

This post is specifically aimed at UK businesses, although some of the ideas and tips suggested could also help a company wherever they are located.

It’s important to remember that social media plays a significant part in supporting the marketing and increasingly customer services functions within a company which in turn support the overall business strategy.

With so many economic uncertainties, it’s important that you have a much stability within your business as possible so planning is vital. Marketing and customer services are the foundations of any business, so make sure that you have a marketing and customer services strategy in place and that social media is part of that. A stand alone social media strategy could be useful and that’s something that I can help with.

If you’re selling to customers abroad then the recent currency movements have been in your favour, but if you are paying for goods and services in foreign currency then your costs have increased. Here are some ideas on reducing your costs.

If you’re advertising on social networks like Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn you may well be paying for your ads in US dollars. My Twitter Ads account is in US dollars and I’ve now contacted Twitter to get this changed to British Pounds.

There are also many online tools and services used for digital marketing and in conjunction with social media that charge in dollars. It’s worth finding out if payment in British pounds is an option or switching to a UK based service. For example, a great alternative to US based Survey Monkey is Gloucestershire based SmartSurvey (aff link) who boast the BBC and NHS amongst their clients.

If you are using services like Mailchimp, Buffer and Dropbox, your costs have gone up so prepare for this or look for UK alternatives. Likewise, the many small businesses who use Amazon Web Services (AWS) for web hosting and cloud storage have seen their costs increase.

The currency exchange rates change all the time so whilst costs have increased in this first post Brexit week, this might not be the case in the medium term but the rates and your associated costs are certainly worth keeping an eye on.

In summary, social media can help increase your sales and improve your customer services post-Brexit. Keep calm and carry on posting and tweeting!

For my weekly Social Media Roundup with tips, news and more - please join my email list.



Social media for solicitors

Social media presents a tremendous opportunity for solicitors although in my conversations with legal eagles it appears that few of them realise this. There’s a common misconception that social media isn’t for them, that Facebook is for kids and not for a professional firm of lawyers. Solicitors often consider social media to be risky but the reality is that it’s no more risky for them than it is for any other business. When making a decision about using social media the business benefits outlined below should be considered along with any risks.

In the following article I’ll debunk the theory that social media isn’t suitable to those in the legal world and that the benefits outweigh the risks. I suggest that LinkedIn, Twitter and even Facebook can play a worthwhile part in a solicitor’s marketing strategy and I’ll illustrate how a law firm can make the most of the social media.

There are many business benefits for solicitors who engage on social networks which all contribute to what is probably the practice’s key goal - generating new business.

  • Finding and communicating with prospects
  • Building a good local reputation
  • Brand awareness and thought leadership to the wider community
  • Obtaining leads through social listening
  • Accurate targeting of prospective clients
  • Development of relationships with barristers and counsels
  • Increased website visits via links on social networks and improved SEO

Finding and communicating with prospects

Using LinkedIn you can seek out prospects using Advanced Search. This is a great feature which enables you to target and communicate with prospects. For example, if you’re a commercial lawyer and you want to contact Managing and Commercial Directors of local companies, you can do this in a matter of minutes. Once you’re happy with the search filters you’ve selected, you can save your search making it easier to get updated results the next time you need them. You’ll also be emailed any new results on a weekly basis. Using the results you can then communicate with a prospect by connecting with them or sending them a LinkedIn email. InMail is LinkedIn’s version of email and whilst you do need to become a premium member to access, it’s extremely powerful. It gives you the ability to directly communicate with the 400 million members on LinkedIn <tweet this>, even if you don’t know their email address or phone number. But make sure you don’t get for the hard sell so start a conversation or suggest a meeting to discuss how you might work together. Make sure you show an interest in your prospect and refer to shared contacts and interests to build rapport.

Twitter also has an Advanced Search feature although it’s not widely used as it’s poorly signposted. Like LinkedIn Advanced Search it also has filters so you can search by location. It has one-up on LinkedIn with the ability to locate ‘sentiment’ in tweets ie you can search for tweets that are positive, negative or which are questions. It can be rewarding to search for key terms that are questions. For example, searching for the word ‘solicitor’ in a tweet that’s a questions can yield leads like this:

Building a good local reputation

Using the Advanced Search features on LinkedIn and Twitter mentioned above you can contact local business people to network and provide value. For example, would they find a guide on the latest legislation on employment law useful? You can also enhance your reputation by sharing posts and tweets from local businesses on Facebook and LinkedIn and retweeting on Twitter.

You should follow (Twitter) and connect (LinkedIn) with local influencers. For example, if you practice personal injury law it’s not a bad idea to connect with health and safety experts, insurance firms, constructions workers and electricians.

Most areas in the UK have a #Townhour chat every week. For example, #CardiffHour is 8pm-9pm on Wednesdays. Take the time to join in at the appointed time and build your reputation by answering questions, retweeting using the relevant hashtag and tweeting useful content.

In terms of content, make sure you post and tweet about any activity or involvement in the local community. For example, photos from sponsored events and charitable initiatives are likely to prove engaging.

Brand awareness and thought leadership to the wider community

The key to raising awareness of your brand on any social platform is to show an interest in others and to get active. For example, sharing relevant and useful content by retweeting puts you on the radar of the person whom you’ve retweeted as well as providing useful content to your followers. Add an insightful comment to the tweet to demonstrate your thought leadership.

LinkedIn rewards activity more than other social networks. For example, liking an update will result in the person whose update you’ve liked receiving an update just like other social networks but in addition your action of liking will be published in the news feed of your connections.

You can also use LinkedIn posts to provide commentary and advice on the latest legal issues. Posts give you the ability to easily write blog posts or articles on LinkedIn. It’s a simple, easy to use system - upload a photo, write your title and the article, hit the publish button and you’re done. Posts are great for raising awareness as all your connections are notified when you publish a new post, plus might also be seen in the news feed. If you’re lucky LinkedIn will publish to people outside your network too. Encourage discussion and opinion at the end of your posts. For example, ‘I’d love to hear your feedback on how changes in your social media policy have affected your workplace. Please leave a comment below’.

The LinkedIn Group - Legal Marketing Network UK carries discussions on all aspects of marketing for law firms. It’s a good place to learn, contribute and network with your peers.

A LinkedIn company page (see example from Barr Ellison Solicitors below) gives your practice a corporate presence on LinkedIn from which you can post short news updates and links to relevant articles. A good strategy to employ with your company page is to encourage partners, associates and paralegals to share the updates from the company page onto their personal profiles and therefore onto their connections.

Obtaining leads through social listening

A key benefit of social media is the ability to listen to public conversations about your law firm. Make no mistake; you can be certain that people are talking about you online just as they do offline. Using a tool like TweetDeck (owned by Twitter) you can setup columns containing keywords in tweets. For example, to find conversations about your business you should setup columns containing the name of your practice and your website address. To find leads, you could setup a column with the phrase ‘recommend solicitor’. It’s worthwhile experimenting with different words and phrases as there’s no limit to the amount of columns you can setup.

You can also use a tool like Mention who say, ‘Monitor you and your brand’s online footprint, find buzz about your business, and generate awareness for your company.’ Subscriptions start at $29 per month.

Accurate targeting of prospective clients

Social advertising allows you to communicate directly with potential clients who are interested in your services. Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn all have advertising platforms that are easy to use and great value when compared to other forms of paid advertising. Your chosen platform depends on a number of criteria, but it makes sense to advertise on a social network that’s popular with your potential clients. The key strength of social advertising is being able to target potential clients on a number of levels. For example on Facebook you can select age, gender, location, relationship status, education level, profession and perhaps most powerful of all, interests and behaviours.

Facebook is suitable for solicitors providing conveyancing services and other business to consumer services whereas LinkedIn and Twitter would be better for commercial lawyers. On Facebook those in the solicitor’s locality who are ‘Likely to be 1st time buyers’ - a Facebook behaviour - can be targeted with posts from the practice’s Facebook Page. On LinkedIn all the details contained in users profiles such as locations, job title and industry can be used when targeting.

Development of relationships with barrister and counsels

If you’re a law firm who works with a barrister or counsel, you’ll want to maintain a good working relationship. Find out more about them by following them on Twitter and connecting on LinkedIn. Show an interest in their activities by liking and retweeting on Twitter and liking and sharing on LinkedIn. If you wish to communication in private you can use Twitter’s Direct Messaging which is no longer limited to 140 characters plus you can have group conversations too. LinkedIn also supports this functionality with the messaging function having also just been through a revamp.

If you need an introduction to a barrister or counsel, ask your 2nd degree connections on LinkedIn if they’ll make an introduction. LinkedIn is a great resource for networking and developing relationships with other legal professionals.

Increased website visits via links on social networks and improved SEO

Social media is becoming increasingly important when it comes to attracting more visitors to your website. It’s important to ensure that links to your website are included on all your pages and profiles as well as in posts and tweets as appropriate. If there’s more information on your website about the subject you’re talking about then make sure you include a link to the relevant website page.

As well as gaining visitors from those that click on links, social media can also help your website appear higher in search engine results or to use the jargon, it can help your SEO (Search Engine Optimisation). It’s not only your website that appears in search results but your brand gets exposure from other web assets too. Your Twitter profile plus your tweets, employee LinkedIn profiles and company page are all surfaced in results and will help people find you.

Links themselves can help SEO, especially if others are sharing and retweeting your posts and tweets but you should also include relevant keywords in your social network profiles and in your social media content.


In summary, there are risks regarding professionalism and confidentiality but like any other company, a law firm should provide training and have a social media policy in place (I can help with both). For those advising on employment law, then you’ll already be advising clients on this area so you won’t have any problems drafting or updating your own policy.

As can be seen above there are many business benefits to be obtained for law firms and I’ve not included other areas where social media can help, such as customer services and employee engagement so the case for solicitors using social media is strong.

Are you a solicitor using social media? Let me know your experience in the comments below.


8 creative social media tips to promote your event

If you’re an organiser of regular events or a planning a one off conference, show , workshop or meetup the success of  your event is going to mainly going to be decided by the number of people who turn up.

Social media can be hugely powerful channel for promoting your event, whether it’s held online or offline plus it’s a low cost form of marketing too. I would be reluctant to state it’s free because the human element involved to post and tweet comes at a cost of time and effort and budget will be required for the social advertising that I’m recommending below.

With the constant bombardment of buzzing phones, notification pings, posts, updates and tweets it can be difficult to make your event stand out and capture the attention of potential attendees.

The tips below will help you maximise your reach, grab attention and attract more people to your event.

Tip 1) Create an en event hashtag - Creating and getting your event hashtag out there is the single most important thing you can do when using social media to promote an event. The hashtag should be chosen carefully and have the following characteristics. Firstly, it should be unique. You can run a search on Twitter to make sure that it isn’t included in many tweets and preferably known at all. For example, I used to help organise an event called Digitalks so our first thought was to use #DigiTalks. However, Digitalks is the name of a Brazilian digital marketing magazine and the hashtag of the same name is widely used. Although not idea given it’s length, we chose to go with #DigiTalksChelt to reflect the location of the event; Cheltenham. Secondly, it needs to be short and I’d suggest an absolute maximum of 14 characters. For example, the official hashtag of last year’s Rugby World Cup wasn’t #rugbyworldcup but #RWC2015 which brings me onto the third point. Thirdly, if you are in the position or organising a well established global annual event it’s fine to put the date in the hashtag such as #RWC2015 as there will be enough interest and conversation around each annual event. However, for most events it’s preferable not too so that conversation can carry on throughout the year plus it makes the hashtag shorter too. For example, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences choose to go with #Oscars; neat, simple and 100% matches the name of the event and awards.

Hashtags are great because they can be used across most social network platforms with the notable exception of LinkedIn, who for reasons unknown dropped hashtags from their platform in August 2013. Hashtags help create a buzz around your event, particularly if they are being used across the majority of social accounts and in particular Twitter and Instagram.

A key aspect of social media is sharing so to make the most of your hashtag encourage your attendees to share alongside your posting and tweeting. A good way of doing this is to flag up the hashtag after they’ve booked their place. You can use a great tool called ‘clicktotweet‘ to make it easy for them to do this. It does what it says on the tin. For example, if you click the link below with one click you can promote my Laptop Friday event in Cardiff. (See what I did there?).

Click to tweet (Come along to Laptop Friday in @LittleManCoffee every Friday from 7.30am. Coworking, coffee and chat! #LaptopFriday)

Don’t forget to use offline materials too to get people using your hashtag eg signage, brochures, banner, clothing and if you’re really dedicated tattoos! (just kidding).

Tip 2) Set up a Facebook Event - Set up a Facebook Event making sure that you create the Event from your Facebook Page or Facebook Group. The latter are particularly powerful as all the members of your Group will be invited. From your Page you can only invite your Friends which is a bit of a pain. However, Facebook Events so give your event some dedicated promotion and you can link to them from elsewhere eg newsletter, website and other social channels. The make it easy for people to engage with the event as they can state they are ‘Interested’ or ‘Going’ plus write Comments and upload photos on the Wall. If attendees have to book then you can add a button to encourage them to get tickets.

Tip 3) Produce a teaser video - Make a short teaser video around 30 seconds in length stressing to potential attendees why they should attend. To make the message clear you could overlay large text onto the video stressing the benefits of attending. A great advantage of a teaser video is that it can be regularly shared across your social channels as well as being hosted on your Facebook Page, YouTube, Pinterest, your website and in email newsletters. On your Facebook Page make sure that your video is Featured to give it extra prominence on the top left hand side of your Page and in the Videos section. You could overlay your event hashtag as an outro and don’t forget to include your hashtag when posting and tweeting your videos.

Tip 4) Live stream - Regular readers will know that I’m a big fan of Periscope and produce THE #SocialToday SHOW every weekday at 8.45am. In a similar way as the teaser video suggested above you should stress the benefits of attending but the difference with Periscope is that you can take questions from your viewers as well as provide them with information about the upcoming event. Already available in the US, a similar service called Facebook Live will soon be available in the UK to everyone who wishes to broadcast live.

Tip 5) Use Twitter Website Cards - Twitter Website Cards are Twitter’s second best kept secret (Advanced Search is the best). I call them ‘turbo tweets’ as they give tweets an extra blast of power by adding an inline image, headline, link and most important of all button - learn more here. The best bit is that all of that content only takes up the length of a link - 22 characters - so there is plenty of room to add a tweet to you card content as well. Although part of Twitter’s Ad platform, Website Cards are free to setup and use although they can be promoted if you wish as explained in Tip 7. See below for an example:

Tip 6) Reach out to your contacts - Social media is all about conversation so talk with your suppliers and ask them to share promotional content about your event. Speak to photographers, PA and AV engineers, caterers and so on making it easy for them by pointing them in the direction of tweets they can retweet and posts they can share. You should find them co-operative as it’s in their interests for your event to be successful. Twitter and LinkedIn are the best two channels for locating people and then striking up a conversation. You could also try suppliers relevant Pins using Pinterest’s messaging feature.

Tip 7) Invest in social ads - As social media matures it’s moving towards being paid media rather than earned and owned media. On Facebook, reach is now zero for many posts unless they are promoted (boosted). The strength of social ads is precision targeting of potential customers so if you have a good idea of the characteristics of a person attending your event ie your event ‘avatar’, then you’ll be able to reach them. Facebook has specific Ads for promoting Events (see Tip 2) so these are an ideal starting point. You could also use promote posts. On Twitter, you can promote the Website Card (see Tip 5) to a relevant audience. Twitter Ads are poor when it comes to targeting geographically but you can advertise to followers of relevant accounts, which is pretty handy.

Tip 8) Use Instagram - Instagram provides great value for the time invested as if done correctly you can receive the benefit of ‘3 social networks for the price of one’. Instead of taking a photo and uploading onto Facebook and Twitter, try using Instagram then share to the other two as well. You’ll find that Instagram photos don’t display automatically in Twitter but if you run them through this menu on IFTTT they will. Instagram is great for providing ‘behind the scenes’ footage such as photos of event planning and setting up the venue. You should aim to engage your followers and get them excited as the event nears.

As you can see from the above, social media can be used in a number of ways to promote an event but it can also be used for event planning, event management, event engagement on the day and to recycle event takeaways after it’s all over.

For creative ideas on all aspects of using social media at your event plus use of the latest social media techniques and features, please visit my Event Organisers page.


17 ideas for your business blog in the new year

January is usually a quiet time in the world of social media and it can be tough to come up with content for blog posts. The start of a new year is the time for looking ahead, for planning and for making resolutions so these are good starting points for business blog ideas. People are looking to get fitter, try a new hobby and to get more organised in their personal and business lives.

Whatever you blog about, make sure that you are providing value to your readers who are also hopefully potential clients; help them plan to get ahead in 2016.

Below are a few ideas. If you have any others then feel free to add them in the Comments below.

  1. How to save money  - personal and business
  2. How to get more organised - everything from setting fitness goals to writing a business plan
  3. How to learn a language - eg tips on the best phrase books and audiobooks
  4. How to get fit - perfect at start of year for gym owners and fitness industry businesses
  5. How to create a marketing strategy - great for marketers and social media consultants
  6. Legislation changes in 2016 that might affect your industry - are their changes due in 2016?
  7. Predictions for your industry - what’s going to be hot or not in 2016?
  8. Share a client’s success story - details how you’ve helped a client to achieve success.
  9. Recommend blogs/podcasts - publish a list of blogs and podcasts that will be useful in 2016.
  10. Become better at xxxx in 5 minutes - your readers are short of time so try titles like this one.
  11. How xxxx will change in 2016 - let your readers know changes that are coming up in 2016.
  12. 10 top tips for 2016 - readers respond to headings with lists so give them 10 ways to do something better in 2016.
  13. Prepare your business for 2016 - help people get ready for the new year.
  14. What are your plans for 2016 - let readers know your own business plans for 2016.
  15. What did you learn in 2015 - let readers know how your business performed in 2015 and what you learned during the year.
  16. Interview an industry leader - publish the thoughts of an industry leader, perhaps their predictions for 2016.
  17. Expand on a social media post - pick a post or tweet that resonated with your fans or followers and develop the theme in a blog post.

Finally, don’t forget the importance of the visual so include lots of photos and preferable video in your blog. Video is great for teaching people how to do stuff, so a great medium for all the ‘how tos’ above.

Don’t forget to watch my #SocialToday show on Periscope every weekday for more help with social media - follow and watch #SocialToday.


Keep yourself and your data safe on Facebook

Facebook is an incredibly powerful tool for business - assuming you advertise - and it’s hugely useful and entertaining for friends and families. As FB’s latest TV ads illustrate you can find colleagues from the past, communicate with family members both locally and internationally, make new acquaintances and of course show off your latest glamourous holiday photos. However, it’s important to stay safe on Facebook. Whether you use business for personal or business use, here’s some advice to reduce the risks and make the most of the world’s largest social network.

Review your privacy settings under About – For every piece of information about you that’s displayed on your Facebook profile, you can choose who is able to view it.  The settings range from ‘Only Me’ to ‘Public’ so it’s important to review your information and settings. ‘Only Me’ can be useful as a reminder of your mobile phone number but it maybe that you want to display your number only to your Facebook Friends or if you’re in business, perhaps publically; the choice is yours. It’s particularly important to check that your full birthday isn’t displayed publically, as this detail about you if generally used by banks and others to confirm your identity. It’s fine to display your day and month of birth but don’t display the year as well, even to Facebook friends.

Review your privacy settings when you post –Posts and photos from your personal Profile have the same ‘Only Me’ to ‘Public’ settings. If you are posting from your Page for your business, there are no settings to worry about as all your posts will be Public. When you make a new post on your Profile, Facebook assumes that you want the same privacy setting as your previous post, so check it each time. What you say to Friends might not be appropriate for a wider audience. This setting can also help you target your posts. For example, if you are having a party you might want to publish your post only to Friends in your town. There’s nothing to stop your using your Facebook Profile to promote your business and you’d probably want these to be Public. Facebook’s Privacy Tool can help you through your Privacy Settings for Posts, Apps and your Profile. You can access via the padlock symbol on the top menu bar.

Whilst Facebook’s privacy settings can help, it’s important to remember that posts and comments can be copied and emailed so you can’t rely on Facebook’s privacy settings to keep your thoughts and comments private, which brings us to the next point.

Think before you post – It’s easy to post details that others could take advantage of so take the time to think before you post. You should be particularly careful about publishing your whereabouts particularly if you’re abroad, as burglars might assume your home is empty and an easy target.

Bullying on Facebook - If you’ve come across anything on Facebook or anywhere else, where people are making suggestions to you that make you feel uncomfortable or upset, you should inform another adult or your parents if you’re a child and report the post of photo to Facebook. Like all social networking sites, Facebook doesn’t tolerate bullying and other abusive behaviour which includes harassment, impersonation and identity theft. Facebook say they will remove bullying content when they become aware of it and may disable the account of anyone who bullies or is abusive. You should report bullying on Facebook by selecting the down arrow on the top right of any post using the ‘Report post’ link. You can also block anyone from contacting you by selecting the padlock symbol in the top menu bar. (See above). Find out more on how to deal with bullying in Facebook’s Bullying Prevention Centre.

Set a unique and strong password – Several companies such as Talk Talk have been hacked in the UK recently, and I’m sure you don’t want people to do they same to your Facebook account. A hacker could impersonate you on Facebook or obtain your personal information which could be used in financial transactions, so make sure your Facebook password is unique and is strong. That is, it contains a number, capital letter and a character. Don’t just pick a regular word. For extra security, setup Login Approvals. This is what is known as a Two Factor Authentication system that requires you to enter a code sent to your mobile phone via text message, whenever you log into Facebook from a new or unrecognized computer. You can find out more about Login Approvals in Facebook Help.

PC, tablet and phone safety – I’d strongly recommend that the PCs, laptops, tablets and smartphones you use to access Facebook and the web should all be protected with an antivirus or security program from one of the major providers. This will help protect your devices against viruses, hackers and phishing attacks.

Backup your Facebook data – Are you relying on Facebook to look after your photos and perhaps useful information and contact details? If so, it’s good practice to back up your Facebook data on a regular basis. The good news is that this is surprisingly easy. Go to your Account Settings then ‘Download a copy of your Facebook data’.

Further advice
For further advice on Facebook security check out the Facebook Security Page or call me on 01242 639023 to arrange a face to face meeting or book via DialABrain to setup an online meeting - 1st minutes free.


How to contact Facebook

Update 12/11/15: I’ve been informed by Facebook today that the link only works if you’ve advertised with Facebook in the past 6 months so therefore you have to be logged in to Facebook when using clicking it. If you haven’t advertised or are logged out then you’ll be redirected to

Compared with other social networks Facebook can be difficult to contact when you’ve got a question or a problem. You might find that many of the links you discover through Google or even Facebook Help no longer work or are inappropriate. When you do eventually get in touch it can take some time to receive a response.

As business people in 2015 we expect efficient customer services but with 1.5 billion customers and 50 million Pages, it’s tough for Facebook to keep on top of communications.

A massive step in the right direction is a new place for small businesses to get in touch. It’s located in their Facebook for Business section and here’s the link: Contact Facebook

What’s more, the stated response time is within 24 hours. The new service is predictably Facebook Ads focussed but there are options to get in touch with a wide variety of Facebook Page issues such as changing your Page’s name, merging Pages and technical issues. Plus there’s a generic ‘none of the above’ option too.

So the next time you have a Facebook query use this link: Contact Facebook or of course get in touch with me and I help you as best as I can.


Periscope - Here’s what I’ve learnt

I’ve been using the Periscope app to provide daily broadcasts for the past 2 weeks. Below you can read what I learned, but before we get into that, an explanation of Periscope.
Periscope was bought by Twitter in March this year who relaunched the application on 26 May on iOS. It was released on Android exactly 2 months later.  It allows you to live broadcast from your phone or tablet from anywhere; as long as you have a good internet connection. Each broadcast is automatically shared onto Twitter when it starts. As each viewer joins this is announced on screen. Viewers can interact with the broadcaster by typing comments or tapping the screen which creates hearts that float up the screen. Hearts are used to indicate appreciation by the viewer - they are sort of an equivalent to a Facebook Like. The broadcast can be viewed for 24 hours until it is deleted.


Since the first day of June I’ve been broadcasting a daily social media tip on each working day covering Facebook in the first week and LinkedIn in the second week; next week I’ll be covering Twitter. Each Friday I do a weekly wrap of the previous week’s tips, for those that missed them. Over the 2 weeks my audience has grown from 4 live viewers to around 70 yesterday with a high of just over a 100 on Wednesday. It’s encouraging that I’ve started to receive questions during broadcasts and more are welcome! Periscope presents a great opportunity for live Q and As.

Here are my top ten learning points:

  1. A good internet connection is vital - If the connection is poor the Start Broadcast button doesn’t initialise but I discovered that just because it does, doesn’t mean your connection is good enough. A poor connection will mean freezes during the broadcast which make it frustrating for viewers.
  2. Find a quiet environment - A phone or tablet microphone will pick up background noise, so if possible find somewhere quiet to do your broadcast. This is particularly important if you are presenting or running a Q and A.
  3. Periscope doesn’t work on Samsung phones - Although there’s no confirmation from Samsung or Periscope it does seems that there’s an issue with the Android app on Samsung phones. I have discovered lots of users with problems of intermittent broadcasts and haven’t found anyone who’s successfully broadcasting on a Samsung. (Update: 8.07.15 - There’s been improvement on my Samsung Galaxy Alpha since last Android update with freezing issue fixed but quality of broadcast via iPad is far superior).
  4. Update your profile description - When you sign up to Periscope your profile description is imported from Twitter. To attract more viewers I’d suggest amending to to make it Periscope specific. At present you can only do amend your profile description on the iOS app.
  5. Use a hashtag - To make it easier for people to find your broadcasts on Twitter; use a hashtag in your video title which is immediately posted to Twitter when you start broadcasting. You can find my broadcast with #SocialToday. At present hashtags don’t work on Periscope - in fact, there is no video search but I imagine this will change.
  6. Use Autosave Broadcasts - I’d recommend checking the Autosave Broadcast option so that all your broadcasts are saved to your device. You’ll then be able to re-purpose your videos such as upload them to YouTube or add to your website.
  7. Be ready! - When you hit the Start Broadcast button you are live straight away. There’s no countdown or pause so be prepared for this and start talking straight away. It’s also important where you back camera is pointing when the broadcast starts as this opening image is used as the thumbnail when your video is listed.
  8. Repeat questions - Comments aren’t viewable on the screen during replays, so for the benefit of replay viewers you should repeat comments, particularly questions, when answering them. (Update: 22.06.15 - Comments are now displayed on replays).
  9. Turn on Location Sharing - To attract people from your area and to provide context, make sure that Location Sharing is switched on. This is even more important now that the iOS app has maps showing live users.
  10. Switch off Android notifications - It’s not possible to switch off the sounds of Android notifications without switching them off altogether, but you will probably want to do this to avoid being disturbed by sounds in meetings. It’s a shame as you then miss out on notifications of users going live. (Update: 8.07.15 - This issues had now been fixed and you can now choose to receive notifications without sound).

I hope the above encourages you to get onto Periscope and to start making some quality broadcasts. Let me know how you get on in the Comments below and I’ll leave you with this thought.

Periscope is going to be a game changer.



10 tips on increasing website visitors with social media

During workshops I’m often asked by small business owners whether they need a website, when there’s so much you can do with social networks. As passionate, as I am about social media, there is one major advantage that a website has; it’s yours.

Structure, design, hosting, content - all are controlled by you. Your website is your hub; it’s where you sell goods or services, where you blog or where you provide information about your business.

One of the great benefits of social media is that you can encourage social network users to visit your website. Here are few ideas:

1) Share your own content - You’d think this one would be obvious, but I come across many businesses who blog and publish news but don’t share it across their social networks. If you are updating website content regularly, make sure you maximise it’s exposure and draw people back to your website.

2) Add social sharing buttons to your blog or news section - Not a generic share button eg (ShareThis) but individual sharing buttons, perhaps Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest. This would encourage sharing by readers across their own social networks and would help attract more visitors. Chances are that their fans and followers have similar interests so they could well be people interested in your website and business.

3) Encourage staff members to tweet and post - Get your employees on board. Dedicated employees are likely to be very effective as brand evangelists and can drive their friends and contacts to your website. Encourage them to share news stories and special offers.

4) Create social media policy - Many employers think of a social media policy as a list of ‘donts’, but it should also be used to include ‘dos’ and to encourage employees to use social media pro-actively. This could include advice and guidance on sharing content on behalf of the company.

6) Link to website on profiles/pages - Make sure that all your social network profiles and pages include your website address. It’s worth including in other fields as well as the Website URL field. For example, on Facebook include in the Short Description field. It will then appear under About and on the left of your Facebook Page.

7) Add website link to Pinterest pics - If you pin an image from your website, the address of the page is automatically added but when you upload an image, you have to remember to manually edit and add as there isn’t a prompt. Pinterest users expect to be taken to a website when they select an image so don’t miss this opportunity.

8) Make your headlines punchy - A snappy headline on your blog posts and news articles can encourage readers to click and find out more. Especially if it tantalizes you to find out more. Buzzfeed are masters at this, “This Is Why Streaking During A Rugby Match Is Never A Good Idea“.  This tip works whether your content is shared by you or others.

9) Listen - In pretty much every aspect of social media, listening is vital and attracting visitors to your website is no exception. Using a tool Twilert, you can monitor key words and hashtag relating to your business and then engage. There will be plenty of opportunities to send people relevant web links to provide them with further details or additional contact information.

10) Consider Facebook and Twitter advertising - Facebook and Twitter provide specific advert types that will encourage social network users to visit your website. Both provide 2 types; one for clicks and one for conversions. Their strength is that you can be very specific in targeting your audience.

When carrying out any of the above techniques, it’s important to measure your results to see which work best and how you can improve your overall strategy. Google and social network tools like Facebook Insights, Twitter and Pinterest  can all be used to provide accurate measurement of how much traffic each social network is bringing to your website.

Are there any other tactics that you use to successfully attract visitors to your website from social media? Let me know in the Comments below.

If you would like a quote from me regarding advice on using social media for your organisation, please visit the Services section.


How to maintain social media security

Social media can offer a wide range of fantastic benefits to a small business including raising awareness of products and services, obtaining leads and providing real time customer services. All this can be achieved on a small marketing budget but there can be a huge cost if a company’s security is put at risk.

So what are these risks and what can you do to mitigate them? Businesses and their clients face risks both internally and externally. Employees could release private or commercially sensitive information, for example; personal details of clients. This could be accidental or deliberate. There are also external threats such as hacking and phishing where data can be stolen. Security breaches can result in loss of reputation, lost productivity and most significant of all; loss in revenue.

Whilst it’s not possible to eliminate such risks altogether it’s recommended that the following actions are taken:

Create a Social Media Policy – Companies should have a documented social media policy stating the benefits of social networks but clearly spelling out what employees can post and what’s expected of them. It should be specific, with examples of good and bad practice. Guidance should be taken from an employment lawyer and social media expert and the policy should be reviewed by a human resources specialist.

Update Information Security Policy – The Information Security Policy should be updated to include reference to social networks. Just like other online services, advice on user names and passwords should be clearly documented. For example, a strong unique password should be used for each social network and two factor authentication set up. This is a system whereby a text message with a code is sent to the user’s mobile phone at login and provides an extra layer of security to reduce the risk of hacking. The Information Security Policy should be created by an IT Security Specialist and reviewed by a Human Resources specialist.

Educate yourself and employees – Ensure that you and your employees understand both the benefits and risks of social media. A bespoke in-house social media workshop for you and your team or a documented social media strategy from a professional Social Media Consultant will show you how you can use social networks to achieve your business objectives, mitigate risks and manage both positive and negative feedback.

Establish purpose of employees social networks – Your employees are likely to have their own social networks so it’s important to establish how these relate to your business. If, for example, your employees regularly share and re-tweet, this will help raise awareness of what your business has to offer. Are your employees using LinkedIn for their own career development or to promote your business? Use of employee social networks should be agreed and documented in your Social Media Policy and/or in employment contracts so everyone is clear on social network ownership and use.

Use a social media dashboard – Using a tool like Buffer - find out more - can help you and your team manage your social networks more effectively and securely. There is no need to circulate user names and passwords and the risk of posting a personal post or tweet to your company’s social network is dramatically reduced. Buffer also allows posts and tweets to be scheduled throughout each day which gives you a regular presence on your social networks and increases awareness.

The social web can be a dangerous place. By taking the appropriate steps above you’ll reduce risks and be better prepared if and when something goes wrong.


The powerful Twitter feature you’re not using

Twitter Website Cards are a powerful feature of Twitter that encourages users to act; for example, buy a product or sign up to a newsletter. They are expanded tweets incorporating a headline, an image ‘call to action’ button and are displayed in full in the news feed. See below for an example:

twitter website cards example

Labels for the button are wide ranging and include: Read more, Shop now, Book now, Learn more, Donate, Apply here and Book tickets.

While it’s included in Twitter’s Advertising platform and is intended to be used as a Promoted Tweet, you can in fact use as a normal yet powerful tweet. There appears to be a loophole which for now at least means it’s free to use.

I’d encourage any business on Twitter to use as it can really help drive sales, sign ups and bookings. You can measure the performance of your Twitter Card by using Twitter , try different types and improve your results.

To access and use this special type of tweet you’ll need to be setup to advertise on Twitter, although if you don’t wish to advertise you don’t have to. Here’s the process from start to finish on setting up a Website Card.

1) Go to to set up your Twitter Ads account or to access your campaigns if you’re already setup. You can also select your profile pic then Twitter Ads at any time to access Campaigns.

2) Select Creatives then Cards from the top menu. (Note: If you don’t see this menu option then add your payment card. You will only be charged if you use Website Cards only).

3) Select the Website option button (see below).

twitter website cards

4) Select the Create Website Card button on the right hand side.

5) You can then set up your Website Card (see below)

twitter website cards setup

6) Once you’ve created your Website Card you should then save it and compose a tweet to go with it. You can come back at any time to obtain the link for your Card.

7) At this point you can choose whether to send as a standard or Promoted Tweet.

twitter website cards promoted

8) Select the Tweet button.

It’s good practice to try different combinations of tweets with your Website Card and see which tweets work best. I’d also suggest pinning some of these tweets to the top of your profile for increased visibility.

If you combine Twitter Website cards with Promoted Tweets, you can make them even more powerful. Twitter say that tweets with Website Cards drive 43% more clicks than regular Promoted Tweets with links.

Whether used as normal or Promoted Tweets, Website Cards are a valuable enhancement that can encourage increased activity around campaigns, contests, ticket booking, newsletter sign ups and sales.

To find out how I can help you use Website Cards as part of your Twitter marketing strategy, please visit the recently updated Services section.

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