Support for micro & SME’s businesses: Survive and Thrive

Project leads: e:Prof Jon Fairburn @ProfjonFairburn and e:Kat Taylor @KatTayloruk

There are two parts to the Survive and Thrive project – a series of webinars and 1 to 1 business support. This project aims to support businesses in Staffordshire and the surrounding regions.

The webinars are designed to be interactive and resources to download during the webinars will be made available, as well as examples and the opportunity for chat and questions. If you are unable to attend the webinar then you can watch a recording.

Several of the webinars link to each other and we would encourage you to sign up for all of the webinars.

Practical Hints and Tips for Small and Micro-businesses occurred on Staffordshire Day (May 1st)Recording here

How to critically assess your business operation and ask really good questions in light of Covid 19 – 2pm May 21st Register here

How to Create Clear Messaging & Develop Customer Relationships Online – 2pm May 28th Register here

Strengthening your business and its future prospects: adapting your operations and supply chain management 2pm June 4th Register here

Are you in the right place? How to connect to the right audience & analyse your performance 2pm June 11th Register here

E-commerce 1: A fun, no techno-babble guide to having a go with electronic commerce! 2pm 18th June Register here

E-commerce 2:  A detailed navigation of the e-commerce strategy template introduced in the E-Commerce 1 webinar 2pm June 25th Register here

How to manage your staff and their wellbeing out of the lockdown and beyond 2pm July 2nd Register here

Introduction to advanced operations for key social media platforms 2pm July 7th Register here

How to develop & integrate email marketing into your business 2pm July 9th Register here

Managing change, risk and longevity – what does the future hold? 2pm July 16th

Register here

Applications for 1 to 1 business support from a range of experts will open shortly – or if you would like to express your interest now contact Prof Jon Fairburn

#SurviveandThrive #Staffordshire #Staffsbiz #Businesstips

MSc Digital Marketing Management students preparing for placement and connecting with the region

When we started the MSc in Digital Marketing Management (FT and PT available), we were determined that students would get credited work experience working with partners. To set up the placement there is a whole module dedicated to the preparation of the placement (which is three months long). Details of when and how to get involved are on our earlier blog here.

Charlotte Cunningham is working with Valentine Clays in Fenton. The placement will be focusing on a strategic digital marketing plan and improving their SEO performance of their main website, along creating website content for their sub-companies LoveClay and Art in Clay.

Charlotte Cunningham
Charlotte Cunningham

Eerik Beeton will be completing his placement with a Staffordshire local IT Company, CoRE Educational Ltd. During his placement Eerik will improve the SEO performance of the company’s e-commerce site selling refurbished IT.

Eerik Beeton
Eerik Beeton

Lewis Copeland is working with Hilton Garden Inn in Hanley on behalf of RBH Hospitality Management. The placement is focussed on developing and implementing a strategic social media plan for the opening of the new hotel.

Charlotte Gooding will be completing her project placement with City Stage Crews Ltd. The project will focus on implementing a digital marketing strategy due to the business currently not having one including creating a website for the business.

Charlotte Gooding
Charlotte Gooding

Sohnia Butt will be undertaking a project at The Mitchell Arts Centre in Hanley, Stoke on Trent. The project will focus around the social media marketing, email marketing and website revamp to increase sales with their target audience

Sohnia Butt
Sohnia Butt

Amber Mottershead will be completing her placement in her current employment at Stone Cricket Club. The placement will focus on developing and implementing an improved digital marketing strategy. This will include building a new website, monitoring the Google Analytics, developing a clear and consistent brand identity and managing multiple social media channels.

Grace Thomson will be completing her placement with Staffordshire University in the Careers Team. Grace is focusing on implementing a social media strategy with an aim of increasing brand awareness. Grace is also working on increasing website traffic.

Grace Thomson
Grace Thomson

Leah Mahon will be completing her project placement at creative recruitment agency, The Candidate in Manchester. The project is focused on creating a content marketing/SEO and social media strategy to increase reach, particularly with client audiences.

Leah Mahon
Leah Mahon

Daniel O’Sullivan is now working for Port Vale Football Club he will be developing the strategic direction of the markerting plan.

Craig Holdcroft, will be completing his placement with The Donna Louise Trust, a charitable organisation located in Stoke On Trent. The initial plan will be to extend the digital reach of the charity with the aim to grow followers and charity engagement within the Staffordshire and South Cheshire area. 

Craig Holdcroft who will be working with the Donna Louise Trust
Craig Holdcroft




Keair Bailey will be developing the website and social media content for PeakMyRun

Jordan Hubble will be working with the Staffordshire University Student Union

Sophie Lawrence is working with Stoke City Football Club. The placement will entail content creation and SEO to display the impact and raise awareness of the Premier League Primary Stars Project.

More to be added as the placements are confirmed.

All of these students and course tutors Prof Jon Fairburn @ProfJonFairburn and Kat Taylor @kattayloruk will be attending the Digital City Festival in Manchester on Thursday 12th March if anyone wants to connect there.
#DCF2020

Need help with Digital Marketing in 2020?

The MSc in Digital Marketing Management is one of our awards to meet the changing demands of industry. Marketing is going through a fundamental change with ever more marketing carried out online – a major consequence of this is the incredibly detailed data that is generated which leads to data driven policy.

The marketing industry is booming, examples from our partners include, Synectics Solutions in Newcastle under Lyme, Don’t Panic who organise many digital award nights and conferences or alumni who have set up businesses such as Jill Quick, or Louise Holland

To get our Masters students ready for the industry we have two modules:

  1. ‘The Management of a Digital Marketing Project’ – this module will prepare a tri-partite agreement between the student, the academic staff and the organisation as to the focus of the project, existing benchmark measures, what is to be achieved and how to make the project sustainable (so that it can continue after the student leaves). This is carried out between January to March/April
  2. The Work Based Digital Marketing Project – a credit work experience (450 hours) to deliver the project with the organisation concerned. (April to August)

The project can be in any type of organisation e.g. private sector, public sector, charity or a university. It is desirable but not essential for the work project activity to take place at the premises, or it could be a mix with some days in the company and some work off site.

We have built in flexibility to the work-placement so it could be that you would like a portfolio of tasks to be completed rather than just one main project. Examples could be – creation of a digital marketing strategy, audit and re-launch of social media, budget and investment plan for marketing, devising and implementing a training plan for existing staff.

As the module is part of the course then paid remuneration is not required. However, we would expect travel expenses and any other identified costs of the project to be paid – these can be discussed and agreed before the placement starts.

Below are profiles of some of the students on the course so reach out direct to them if you are interested or if you want to discuss it with a staff memebr contact Jon Fairburn 01782 294094 jon.fairburn@staffs.ac.uk

Alex Bedford

Alex Bedford
Alex Bedford

I have a lot of experience developing and leading teams to achieve results. This is proven through a history of achievement working with Active Lives Education, Cheshire Football Association, Birmingham County Football Association, Walsall Local Authority, Sported UK, Sports Across Staffordshire, and The Football Association.

I have a keen interest in Digital Marketing. I am pursuing a Master’s degree in Digital Marketing Management.  I have experience in creating and managing marketing and communication strategies and also have experience in website management, email and text marketing, social media management, content curation, and online paid advertising.

I currently run a business called Active Lives Education however am looking for a project that helps me gain further experience in digital marketing, to develop my skills and develop a career or business in this field.

Contact information – Linkedin profile email alex.bedford@activeliveseducation.co.uk mob 07468583274

Amber Mottershead

Amber Mottershead
Amber Mottershead

I hold a foundation degree of science in Film and Television Production and have recently graduated from my BA degree in Events Management (2 year fast track) which I gained a 2:1 in. I have a large work experience portfolio from volunteering to paid work. For 4 years I was a manager of a Children’s play centre then moving onto the cash manager of B&M. I now work as an Events Assistant at Moddershall Oaks. For my volunteer work I have experience of working for the likes of Channel 4, Woman of the Year and Stone Food and Drink Festival. I have also worked several corporate events such as the Hotel Marketing Conference and Land Rover.

I have skills within Web design, as well as using all social media platforms for brand building. I also have quite a good understanding with photoshop and other computer software that may be needed, I am a quick learner and can pick up things fairly quickly.

Ideally, I would like a placement within a sector that holds Events, but I would be open to offers. 

If you would like to follow my LinkedIn, this can be found at: https://www.linkedin.com/in/amber-mottershead-ba48b1166/ or email me Amber1210@live.co.uk

Or if you’d like to have a look at some of my volunteer work you can find this on Instagram: @amottevents 

Lewis Copeland

Lewis Copeland
Lewis Copeland

I have recently graduated from my BA Events Management (2 Year Accelerated) in which I achieved a first-class honours. I have previous work experience as a bar supervisor for three years as well as voluntary work experience with Channel 4, The Stone Food and Drink Festival as well as being a student representative for my course.

I currently work for The Student Hub at Staffordshire University as a Digital Marketing Ambassador. In this role I manage multiple platforms (Facebook, Twitter and Instagram) as well as improving the overall engagement and reach of the platforms.

I am able to use social media platforms to build and uphold brand image. I have experience in using analytics to improve the reach of posts as well as identifying demographics which not be being reached and making steps to target them.

Ideally I would like a placement in tourism, events or hospitality but I am open to offers.

If you would like to connect with me, my LinkedIn is: https://www.linkedin.com/in/lewis-copeland-10268515b/  or Email me at: lewis_copeland@hotmail.com

Sophie Lawrence

Sophie Lawrence
Sophie Lawrence

I have recently graduated with a First-Class BA (Hons) Degree in Events Management and have now started studying MSc Digital Marketing Management. I have a large work experience portfolio from both paid and volunteer work. I have been a chef for the past three years at The Orange Tree Bar and Grill, I also hold a range of customer service skills which I have been able to develop by working at a bar and on a hotel reception. To broaden by experience in events management I have volunteered at numerous events such as Woman of the Year 2018, Stone Food and Drink Festival and The Royal Oak Gin festival.

I have skills in web design, brand building and analytics, I can also use all forms of social media and some computer software which may be required. I am a reliable team player who learns quickly, I enjoy expressing my creativity when carrying out jobs and ensuring all tasks are completed to the best of my ability.

If possible, I would like to find a placement within the events, tourism or hospitality sector although I am open to other opportunities.

Please find me on LinkedIn (https://www.linkedin.com/in/sophie-lawrence-05367414a/) or email me (sophielouiselawrence@gmail.com) if you are interested in my expertise.

Charlotte Gooding

Charlotte Gooding

I have recently graduated with a 2:1 in BA (Hons) Events Management and am now currently studying MSc Digital Marketing Management. I have a wide work experience portfolio varying from paid work to voluntary. Over the last three years I have been a bar staff member for Stonegate pubs working for Walkabout until it closed down in April this year and now Yates Newcastle-under-Lyme. Within my role at Yates I tend to work on the bar and occasionally the kitchen, but recently I have taken on the role to be more involved in the social media for the business. To help to widen my knowledge of events and volunteers I volunteered for the Stone Food and Drink Festival in 2017/18. 

My main stills revolve around social media and helping to design promotional material. I am a reliable person with work ethic and put all my effort into anything that I do.

My ideal placement if possible would be within the events, tourism or hospitality industry. However, I am willing to try anything new that may broaden my knowledge and skills 

Please find me on LinkedIn (https://www.linkedin.com/in/charlotte-gooding-66867314a/) or email me (charlottegooding@live.co.uk) if you would like to contact me.

Aaron Shaw

Aaron Shaw

I recently graduated from Staffordshire University with a 2:1 BA (Hons) degree in Business management and I’m now studying an MSc in Digital Marketing Management. I am a team leader at the Staffordshire University Students’ Union. This role requires excellent communication skills, the ability to delegate tasks to the team I am managing and making sure the venue (LRV and Verve) is running as smoothly as possible. This has taught me a multitude of transferable skills within customer service as I have developed my interpersonal and leadership skills. This is reflected within my dedication to the Staffordshire Stallions American Football as a team player and a defensive captain.

I’m currently looking for a digital marketing placement for my work based digital marketing project. This will give me a chance to utilise the skills and knowledge that I have learnt within my masters and apply it to a professional environment. Any opportunity to be able to get this experience would enable me to further my employability.

My degree has given me an insight into a variety of different aspects within Business Management. This has given me fundamental knowledge on topics that also relate to the MSc in Digital Marketing Management. I have extended my academic skills and abilities by studying into a specialised area of Business.  An MSc has enabled me to have a greater understanding of analytics, search engine optimisation and the ability to design a global digital marketing strategy.

If you would like to contact me, my details are;

LinkedIn – linkedin.com/in/aaron-shaw-ba20a3150

Email – aaronjamesshaw1994@hotmail.co.uk

Leah Mahon

Leah Mahon

I have graduated with a BA (Hons) Journalism and I am now studying my MSc in Digital Marketing Management. Throughout university, I worked as a venue member for Staffordshire University’s Student’s Union in front and back of house customer service roles and as a Student Ambassador. These roles have instilled me with strong interpersonal skills and self-organisation through working in these multifaceted positions.

I have experience working as a Trainee Journalist at The Sentinel newspaper and Staffs Live, where I was responsible for researching and writing feature and news content for print and online publication. I utilised my qualifications in Reporting and Shorthand at 100WPM from the National Council of Training for Journalists, ensuring accuracy and time management.

I am an experienced CRM Marketing Assistant, where I was responsible for curating content for email marketing campaigns and market research. Studying Digital Marketing has developed my knowledge within integral marketing theories, brand development and content curation/SEO. I am now implementing this in the creation of my own lifestyle blog, The Wordsmith.

I am interested in opportunities in the content marketing sector, and I am open to writing diverse content in an array of industries.

My contact details are:

LinkedIn   –    https://www.linkedin.com/in/leah-mahon-b15627121/

Email       –    leah_mahon@outlook.com

Grace Hague

If you are a business owner and you are looking for a driven, creative and hardworking individual that has a keen interest in digital marketing, SEO and business development…then look no further!

I am currently looking for a placement within an organisation that will help me gain further knowledge and experience in the digital marketing field.

I have recently graduated from Staffordshire University with a 2:1 in Tourism Management. My main interests lie in SEO, content curation, analytics and brand building through social media.

I have consolidated experience working in fast-paced environments, working in a team, customer engagement and I have the desire to learn and help businesses grow!

So, what are you waiting for? Get in touch via LinkedIn or email!

LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/grace-hague-12846b10a/

Email: Grace_Hague@mail.com

What makes an entrepreneur?

June Dennis, Dean of Staffordshire Business School


We’ve been celebrating Global Enterprise Week at Staffordshire Business School this week and have welcomed some fantastic guest speakers.  What’s been very evident is that there is no one reason or way to start your own business – each guest speaker has had a uniquely individual journey and experience. In some instances, they have fallen into self-employment, in others, it was a well thought through and planned decision to do so.

So what makes a successful entrepreneur?

There are so many lists out there that can offer you the top 3 or 7 or 20 traits you must have to be a successful entrepreneur.  This is my list based on what our guest speakers shared this week!

Passion & determination – if you are to succeed, you need to be passionate about your business proposition.  What’s the point of setting up a business in something you don’t like or believe in?  However, passion alone will not be enough.  It really does help if you love what you do, but you need to be prepared for setbacks.  I can promise you that things won’t go as smoothly as you hoped. There will be times when you question whether you did the right thing.  That’s when you need to be resilient and, as they say, ‘keep calm and carry on’.

Strong work ethic & self starter – when you work for yourself, it’s very easy to have a lie-in when you don’t feel like working without realising that time is your most precious commodity.  Even when you don’t feel it, you have to push yourself to make that phonecall, finish the report or knock on the door.  You need to be disciplined.  One friend, when he didn’t have any work, used to go to the cinema or meet friends for a coffee.  Another friend would purposely post leaflets around the neighbourhood to promote his business.  Can you guess which one was most successful?

…but also a good finisher – basically, you won’t get paid until you finish the job.  And, you need to finish the job in good time.  So don’t procrastinate.  Sometimes, ‘good enough’ is better than not getting the job done in time. You won’t get repeat business if you don’t deliver on time.


Creativity – you don’t necessarily have to have a new-to-the-world invention or be able to design amazing advertising campaigns, but you do need to be a good problem solver and find ways around problems that come your way.  That’s being creative! 


Keep an eye out for opportunities – Be a purposeful networker.  You don’t have to be an extravert to develop a supportive network and you never know what’s around the corner!  Nearly every contract I received resulted in further business, either from the same organisation or as a result of them passing my details on to a third party.  For example, as a result of writing Mintel reports, I was contacted by the chief executive at the time asking if I could act as an expert witness in a court case.  The timing wasn’t great and I had to juggle domestic commitments and workload but saying yes to this one phone call provided me with the opportunity to be one of a handful of special marketing experts – and it paid well!

Know your worth – friends may ask for freebies or big discounts sometimes with the promise that you’ll get lots of publicity.  If they value you, they will pay for your services or goods.  Occasionally, they may be able to offer you something in kind, such as your first review or office space.  I got a free hair cut from my hairdresser when we spent the time it took to cut my hair discussing how he could improve his pricing policy.  It was win-win and neither of us took the other person’s services for granted. As an expert witness, I realised no one queried how much I was charging, so I increased my fees by £50-£75/day for each new quote.  I never got turned down….

And finally,

Be prepared to learn – constantly!   If you weren’t successful in getting a contract – find out why.  If you made a mistake, learn from it.  Get feedback whenever you can and look at ways to develop new skills.

Digital Entrepreneurship – A Game Changer

Professor Fang Zhao, Staffordshire Business School


Digital revolution is in its full swing now. Digital technologies become pervasive and ubiquitous, disrupting and reshaping business models and processes. According to the estimation of McKinsey Global Institute (2017), by 2030, 75 million to 375 million workers, about 3 to 14 percent of the global workforce will have to change their job categories thanks to digital disruption. Digital technologies have also created and grown the gig (or sharing) economy and generated new entrepreneurial opportunities and new types of entrepreneurship called digital entrepreneurship. The forecast is that digital entrepreneurship may add $1.36 trillion to the future world top ten economies and could generate 10 million additional jobs by 2020 (Nanterne 2014).

What is digital entrepreneurship?

Based on our team’s research, digital entrepreneurship is a distinctive concept signifying a strategic mindset and transformation, through which entrepreneurs and entrepreneurial organisations pursue business opportunities and create new and transformative services/products, processes, digital ecosystems, markets, business models, and ventures involving digital technologies.

What are the opportunities for businesses and organizations?

There are many opportunities that digital technologies can give rise to, in terms of the growth of digital entrepreneurship. In short, they present three key opportunities: connectivity, scalability and speed. Social media, one aspect of digital technologies, plays a key role in connectivity through network relations which may lead to co-creation and co-ownership. Digital connections are the veins of new venture creation linking creative people and focusing minds and actions on making something people want. On the other hand, the scalability and fast speed allow start-ups to scale up and down quickly and extend their reach across borders and time zones. 

What are the key challenges?

However, the low barrier to use digital platforms increases competitions and minimizes the chances of distinguishing one’s products/services from its rivals. There are also intellectual property issues, cyber security, data protection, to name a few. Digital entrepreneurs need to learn fast to upgrade their capability and skills. New learning becomes a continuous part of venture and business capability development. Knowledge bytes are a daily venture building feature as learning and working become integrated and fused in the digital entrepreneur’s world. Last but not the least, technology is just a tool, just a conduit, just a pathway, the goal is the business. The ultimate objectives that you use technologies for your business count the most. 


For further discussion on the topic area, please contact Professor Fang Zhao, Associate Dean – Research and Enterprise in Staffordshire Business School, Staffordshire University at fang.zhao@staffs.ac.uk.


#GEW2019

About Global Entreprenuership Week:

From the 18-24November, Global Entrepreneurship Week inspires people everywhere through local, national and global activities designed to help them explore their potential as self-starters and innovators. These activities, from large-scale competitions and events to intimate networking gatherings, connect participants to potential collaborators, mentors and even investors—introducing them to new possibilities and exciting opportunities…Continue reading

Learn more about Global Entreprenuership Week 2019 by visiting: https://www.genglobal.org/united-kingdom

#GEW2019

Global Entrepreneurship Week at Staffordshire Business School #GEW2019

#GEW2019

ALL WELCOME

Monday 18th Nov 2-4pm LT111/113 Julia Roberts

Professional skills for the self- employed Communications and Events Professional

Julia will start with a small talk on how her career developed and then will follow this with some workshop activity.

Tuesday 19th Nov 10.00 – 11.00 LT 02 Ashley Emily Whitehead

Building brand identity: the case study of Simply Great Britain

Tuesday 19th Nov 1.00-2.00 R101 Science Centre Emily Whitehead

Building brand identity: the case study of Simply Great Britain

Tuesday 19th Nov 1.30 – 1.50pm Flaxman Film Theatre Dr Tolu Olarewaju

“The Hult Prize is both the world’s largest student enterprise competition and the  world’s largest movement for social impact. Students from universities around the globe compete to win $1,000,000 in start-up funding to start a business that solves a pressing social issue. This year’s business challenge concerns climate change and is our chance to show the world that our institution is dedicated to Impact. Come and find out how to compete this year and the benefits of engaging with students from every part of our planet.”

http://www.hultprizeat.com/staffordshireuni

Friday 22nd Nov 10.00 – 12.00 S205 Mellor (IT lab) Jonathan Westlake

10.00 – 11.00 Good online tools for digital marketers

11.00 – 12.00 Good online tools for entrepreneurs and the self employed

These are practical workshops come early to ensure you get a seat.A

Speakers profile

Julia Roberts is a communications consultant with over twenty two years of professional work experience within Creative Communications and Marketing including Digital Media, Public Relations and Event Management.

Julia is also the founder and creative director of the Ginger and Spice Festival The Ginger and Spice Festival was crowned champions of British Food Fortnight Competition 2017 and was selected as regional finalists at the Rural Business Awards in both 2018/2019 and 2019/2020.

Her business Rocket Communications and Events Ltd was shortlisted as a regional finalist in the Rural Business Awards 2019/2020.

Julia Roberts - Entrepreneur in Residence

Emily Whitehead

Emily Whitehead Ltd provides highly experienced training, coaching, consultancy & speaking, delivering to a wide range of businesses and organisations. Specialising principally in marketing & communication strategy, leadership & management, business structure, environmental planning & management, this work is carried out for both private clients and within funded projects (most recently ERDF projects in Staffordshire & Leicestershire). Other projects have included work with Staffordshire CC, Stafford BC, Staffordshire Chambers of Commerce, Staffordshire University Business School , Keele Sustainability Hub, UKCPA, WiREUK & National Forest.

Operating under Emily Whitehead Ltd, Simply Great Britain has a mission to change how Britain views small, micro business one story at a time. Working within a membership community model, Simply Great Britain celebrates, supports & connects its members both online and in person.

Jonathan Westlake

Jonathan is an IT specialist. Exposure over the years to a wide variety of business contexts ranging from small firms to large organisations.  He has extensive experience of business techniques and transformation technology used by business. He was also instrumental in setting up Wavemaker Stoke and also runs his own small business. He is also vice-chair and secretary of the British Computer Society North Staffs branch.

5 top tips to be successful on social media

Andrew Rizvi, MSc Digital Marketing Management Student


Planning

When mapping out a plan for social media it is always best to start with the goals you want to achieve for business standpoint and how you plan to implement them.

Using SMART for goal setting can be a successful foundation for social media marketing if followed correctly:

  • Goals must nail down exactly what is expected of the initiative. Also simply being just more active on social media is one of the quickest ways to burn valuable time unnecessary. That’s why it’s crucial to ask ‘why’ your business is on social media.
  • Measurable – Being able to definitively answer “yes, we hit the goal” or “we missed the goal by 20%” is a good goal standard. Key Metrics, Goals or OKRs that you would like to accomplish broken down into days, weeks, months, and the year.
  • Attainable – Out of reach goals are demoralizing and frustrating. Having to stretch to hit a goal is productive, but don’t go overboard with expectations.
  • Relevant – A social media-marketing goal needs to tie in to marketing’s overall goal. Is it to build an audience? Increase website traffic? Strengthen branding?
  • Timely – Dates and times keep companies accountable to their goals. Staying on track may at times be impossible, so be able to acclimatise to change is also important

Engaging with customers rather than just promoting

Social media is becoming more and more like a customer service platform. A tricky part of this is that the better you get the more difficult engagement becomes. The other side of this is that customers are more often than not the best source of inspiration, as they will often be asking the questions ‘why’ don’t you do this. Useful tools to find out what’s working on social media are Twitter List, Google Keyword Planner and Facebook Pages to Watch or even simply creating a community site. This allows a company to then evaluate and remarket itself in the future by using metrics from former campaigns.

Engaging with your target audience by using free or low-cost brands, such as Buffer Reply or TweetDeck. This allows for a more interactive service that can help with providing insight to customers as well as the business. For example, everyone person on Twitter has 100 friends that follow them, and those 100 friends have 100 friends that follow them. Even if only 5% of the total friends share the content, that’s still a massive number of shares and impressions. Crafting content unique to each platform is critical and is why planning is so important to keep a constant stream of customer engagement for marketing purposes.

Boost organic content to a targeted audience

Unless you would have a big team overseeing your social media with the ability to invest a lot of time, you can end up wasting a lot of money on paid advertising. Organic social media posting is the perfect testing ground for paid ads and boosted posts. In other words, you’re using organic reach to determine what posts you should put money behind and use this as an opportunity in disguise. And therefore, being able to use A/B testing can help use company resources wisely regardless of the size of it.

That opportunity is paid social media advertising. Even if you only have £5 to spend on boosting a Facebook post or promoting a Tweet, it will effectively get that content in front of hundreds of potential customers. That is why looking out for posts with high engagement but low reach as a good barometer for potential success and is something that should be checked regularly by using analytics, to ensure that the content will be maximising its possible target audience.

Using a combination of Facebook Audience Insights and Twitter Audience Insights to learn about your audience and create personas. Once you have an idea of who they are, use those insights to create highly targeted ads that will resonate with users.


Measuring Your Results

A clear and fundamental part of this is holding up the results against the goals you set at the beginning to compare. This gives a clear indication as to what is working and what is not. The main providers of gaining this information can be found using tools such as Sprout Social, Google Analytics, Iconosquare and Snaplytics to make sure that resources are being spent wisely and how they can be better placed elsewhere if not.

  • Followers. Total up the number of new followers each social media platform received, and compare this number to the goal set. This can be achieved using analytics tools such as Sprout Social to measure the success.
  • Likes/shares/comments. Measure the amount of engagement the audience has with the posts. Note which type of content gets the biggest responses for future strategies.
  • Leads. Ultimately, successful social media marketing increases the number of qualified leads for the company. This is the metric that tells you the most about your efforts. Therefore can give the biggest indictor as to where it was a success and where it can be improved.


Create an Editorial Calendar

Last but least, an important way of keeping on track of everything and staying ahead of the game is to have a ‘content schedule’. If there’s a common thread between the biggest brands on social, it’s that they post on a consistent basis.

Chances are that when doing it, juggling multiple social channels and trying to tick as many boxes as possible is incredibly challenging. This is why having a content calendar can make the process much easier by:

  • Allowing you to fine-tune each post for each platform without having to jump between sites.
  • Timing posts to maximize engagement, keeping you from having to constantly post in real-time.

Taking the time to make a schedule does double duty of keeping your social media presence organised while also maximising your contents’ reach. This inevitably helps a company reach its potential, whilst being able to continuously funnel information to a specific target market.

 

 

 

Unflitered: The Truth about Influencer Marketing

Leah Mahon, MSc Digital Marketing Management student


Influencer Marketing (IM) is the latest marketing trend to take the digital plethora by storm – one like and re-post at a time. According to Influencer Marketing Hub, IM combines the use of old and new marketing strategies, and turning it into modernised content fuelled marketing campaigns through collaborations between brands and “influencers” who set up their own social media pages and create their followings.

For businesses – big and small – it is worth getting to the know the person behind the filter before letting them influence which directions your business goes down. Here are a few things to keep in mind…

The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) Guidelines came into full force after numerous followers of popular YouTube and Instagram accounts were collaborating with brands and not making aware that they were receiving a profit in return from their content. To ensure transparency among the audience you’re trying to reach through your Influencer, clarifying that a simple #ad or #sponsorship can save them and your business some major thumbs down.

Beauty Vlogger Zoella

Clear communication is key between your business and the influencer you choose to work with. Popular beauty vlogger, Zoella, faced backlash from her fans and their parents last year after her collaboration with Boots and her 12-day advent calendar, containing a bauble and cookie cutter, saw it priced at £50.00 – putting her good girl next door image a risk. She stated, however, that the final cost of the product was not her decision, and given the many loopholes it takes for a product to make it on shelves whom has the final say is usually obvious. However, businesses need to remember that every detail from the price to the packaging will affect the message sending out to their new audience in some way – and ultimately both parties pay the price.

Oprah’s contradictory Tweet

The Influencer has to believe in the brand and the product or service it is promoting. Microsoft collaborated with world-wide influencer, Oprah Winfrey to endorse their new Microsoft Surface tablet. Social Media Today describes how Oprah sought out Twitter to promote the new technology – only to do so via her iPad, one of the product’s direct competitors. Despite her global influence, not even she could increase sales if her influence doesn’t even believe in the product itself. It’s important for businesses not to collaborate just for the number of likes and followers, but what the Influencer believes in too. Right down to what tech they like to send their Tweets and DMs off.

At the heart of this new industry trend is authenticity amongst the audience that follows. In a time when filtered photos begin to look just like that, picking an Influencer that is transparent with their following from the start and for you to harness their honesty well, can be the deciding factor for a like or dislike.

How YOUR Business Can Benefit From Machine Learning!

It is no secret that the landscape of marketing is changing, with a huge shift in activity from traditional methods to digital marketing methods. Machine Learning is at the absolute forefront of this change, and is tipped to be the key to successful business online.

What is Machine Learning?

Machine Learning (ML) is closely related to Artificial Intelligence (AI), a topic of discussion that is prevalent not only in marketing, but as a cultural issue. ML is the application of AI to systems, allowing them to learn from experience. This involves complex algorithm’s that allow a machine to use data to produce predicted outputs.

In marketing terms, this means that a program can gather relevant information, analyse it, and give a specific output, whether that is a prediction or action. This is an exciting prospect for businesses as it can lead to increased efficiency and decreased costs.

So, how can you, as an organisation, utilise machine learning?

Utilising Big Data – 

Digital is growing rapidly, and is fuelled by the amount of data available online, labelled as ‘Big Data’. IBM reported in 2013 that 90% of the world’s data had been produced in the last 2 years. Although this number may seem overwhelming, analysing it is HUGE business, with International Data Corporation predicting it to reach a value of $203 billion in 2020.

With this mass of data, analyst’s need the help of machines if they wish to be able to analyse it fully. Data Analytic programs allow this to an extent, but ML programs, such as Torch, have the ability to spot hidden correlations and patterns in this data, which can be used strategically.

Chat bots – 

Creating a dialogue with customers is crucial to businesses online, and one way to do this effectively is to use chat bots. Chat bots are becoming increasingly popular, and with good reason. Using a chat bot, a customer can open a dialogue to, for example, buy a coat. In this example, a customer would message the business through a messaging app such as Facebook Messenger, and the bot would then reply. The customer would then tell the bot what style/colour of coat it desires, and the bot would provide you with options matching your needs.

As a business, it allows you to communicate with huge numbers of customers on an individual basis, without the need for humans for each customer. This not only saves costs, but is a method that is increasingly preferred by customers, especially millennials. Although Chat bots are already beginning to revolutionise customer service, it is important to realise that the tool is still in its infancy, and so inevitably as technology advances, more and more opportunities concerning them will arise.

Image result for chat bot

Recruitment – 

Another way ML can improve your business activities involves recruitment. This is no more apparent than in ML tools used by companies like Zoho, such as Spark, which allows you to flip the equation in job searching – instead of candidates giving information and a list of vacancies being provided, Zoho uses information regarding the vacancy provided by the business, and supplies a list of candidates that best fit the role.

This can benefit your business because it ensures your prospective employees possess the traits you are seeking.

Oho landing page

Content Management –

With the swathe of content available to consumer’s, it is only natural that it becomes difficult for them to find the content they want to see. Businesses can address this problem through machine learning. By using a machine learning platform, businesses can use the data from previous content consumers have interacted with to predict other content that would be liked, and to ultimately produce content that resonates with their consumer’s. One such example of this is Pinterest. Pinterest use the previous images that their users have ‘pinned’ to suggest other images and content that users would like to see.

Image result for pinterest

This is Just the Start!

The benefits listed above should make it clear that ML has immense potential for business and marketing. It is now being used by giant companies, such as Google and Amazon, but there is no reason smaller companies could use it with just as much benefit. As the technology behind this area grows, organisations will be able to interact with and influence consumers like never before. Make sure you aren’t left behind.

Does your business use machine learning? How does it benefit you? What other benefits are available to businesses through this platform? Please share your opinion below.


by Rory Tarplee

LinkedIn

MSc Digital Marketing Student (Full Time)

 

8 Trends To Keep Your Eyes On In 2018

1. Instagram Stories Drive Upcoming Instagram Trends

Instagram Stories is a big deal and they’re not going away. Daily viewers of Instagram Stories surpassed daily SnapChat viewers just one year after launch, and the growth isn’t stopping.

Instagram Stories was likely the biggest single change in the Instagram UX, and its marketing implications are huge.

A huge deal with Instagram Stories is this: accounts with over 10,000 followers can now add a link within the feature. Considering the fact that the only other place you can put a link on Instagram is just the one buried on your profile page, this is a huge deal, as it multiplies buying or inquiry opportunities by orders of magnitude.

Instagram Stories in particular will be relevant from a marketing perspective because, compared to other transitory video platforms, Instagram metrics are eminently trackable.

A final note on Instagram Stories: Their foundation is social media engagement gold. Video drastically outperforms all other forms of content on every test.

2. Influencer Marketing Makes Major Contributions to Social Media Engagement

Influencer marketing is big business — a billion dollar industry by some counts. There is an exhaustive list of micro-celebrities who earn six figure incomes. And this isn’t a fluke. Influencer marketing is uniquely keyed to exploit certain facts about a growing number of buyers.
As Millennials advance their careers, and Generation Z starts theirs, an enormous population’s purchasing power is increasing swiftly. These two groups — who, combined, literally comprise most of the world’s population — are uniquely influenced by this marketing method.

3. Generation Z to Decide Social Media Trends

We’ve mentioned Generation Z in both of the previous topics for good reason.

RetailDive had this to say about Generation Z and their associated social media trends:

“Gen Z is two- to three times more likely to be influenced by social media than by sales or discounts — the only generation to value social media over price when it comes to making purchase decisions…”

Furthermore, 81% report watching at least one hour of online video per day, or more, according to a study by Fluent, covered by AdWeek. Combine these facts and realize that droves of Generation Z will graduate college and/or start careers next year, and you start to see the powder keg.

4. Messaging Platforms Make Companies Accessible

 

What do you know about WeChat? They’re a wee little Chinese messaging company . . . errr, one that’s looking to cross 1 billion users this quarter. WeChat and WhatsApp are absolutely ubiquitous across either ocean, reaching across many different functions to dominate social media, direct messaging, and even purchasing and commerce.

Every year more and more buyers are Millennials and Gen Z, and fewer and fewer are older. In case you’re not aware of these people’s overwhelming preferences when it comes to talking to a company, we’ll illustrate in their native language:

top-social-media-trends-20185. Live Streaming Explodes

Live streaming isn’t about live streaming. At least not in the way we’re going to be talking about it. You’re going to see a lot more of it in 2018, and the people who do it well will be fully with the times and accelerating. Its prevalence will increase because it works.

But there’s something more at work here.

It’s actually about technology. We get better phones every year. Does that mean that we’re running the same apps better? Sometimes. But once the technological baseline of the average user has clearly moved up a notch, it becomes about making more robust apps that do more and fully take advantage of that new technology.

The smartphones of today are better than what we used to have by orders of magnitude. Furthermore, our data speeds are better, and are poised to make yet another insane leap in the next few years when 5G becomes the standard.

Live streaming is a medium or implementation of social technology that’s uniquely positioned to take advantage of hardware improvements for the next several years. The resolution of an image the size of a phone screen can only get so good before you have to zoom in to see a difference.

But better video processing across the board means all devices involved can handle more streaming at a better quality across more channels at the same time. This is such a huge change that it’s possibly unclear that anyone is even capable of fully understanding the ramifications.

6. Twitter is Going to Change

And they themselves might not even know how just yet.

Twitter has been slowly circling the drain, in some respects, for a long time now. 2017 pulled no punches with the social network, either. Twitter needs to make some big changes to stay relevant, as its growth is the slowest of all the major social media platforms.

7. Online Hangouts Become the Norm

Online hangouts go hand-in-hand with the live streaming trend, and with Generation Z. Consider Houseparty — an app for multiple friends to essentially FaceTime with each other in a group setting.

Houseparty made quite a wave in 2017 with rapid growth, and hit its stride well enough to inspire copycats, including perhaps an effort on the way coming from (no surprise here) Facebook.

The online hangouts trend is also going to intersect with VR. Sure, everyone promised everything this year with VR and AR, and all that ultimately came of it was two weeks of Pokemon GO.

But this year actually has the potential to be different. Many promising programs have another year of beta testing still left under their belts, but the technologies are improving in exciting ways. Once again, Facebook is at the epicentre, with Facebook Spaces.

8. Social Platforms See More Hardcore Moderation

The last year or so has forced the hand of several tech and social media titans to intervene and play a more active role in content moderation. Those manoeuvres, in retrospect, felt more like damage control than any sort of final solution.

We’re likely going to see companies revisit this in a more significant or longer-lasting way, and definitely more proactive than reactive.

As leveraging social media outlets for marketing first took flight, some were dubious of their staying power. The years since have changed sceptic’s into believers, and what’s on the forefront will clearly and easily amplify the channels’ relevance even further.

2018 is here… but were you prepared?

2018 social media trends predict that time on social media platforms will increase. This means you will need to improve your online presence in the year to come.

 

By Richard Holland – MSc Digital Marketing Student

 

Contact –

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