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Connecting with customers has never been more important or easier – and a direct link through social media is the obvious answer; Facebook, twitter and Instagram (in particular – there are several others too)s popularity means not being on social media is a missed opportunity. Your customers are online all the time and the vast majority a member of at least one social media network.

Giving your brand a voice on social media means you have an immediate link to your audience that feels current, fresh and human.

More competition in the retail space means it is harder to get noticed – both on the high street and online. And these days, customers spend less time searching and more time noticing – direct recommendations from friends, awesome instagrammers or inspiring Facebook posts. So if your brand isn’t there – you’re missing out.

We spoke to Social Media Professional Yani Fish – who has worked with Gail’s, Reebok and the like – for her best tips on getting started online.
  1. The first thing to do is to know your audience. Off the top of your head you probably have a pretty good idea – take 20 minutes to sit down and write it down. Who is your typical customer? And who is your ideal customer? These are the people you want to engage.
  2. Find and hone your brand’s voice online. This can be tricky to get right, but a good tip to get started is to think about how you want to make people feel when they interact with your brand. Lively? Relaxed? Comfortable?
  3. Try to make the voice human. You want your fans to feel like they’re interacting with a real person. Sign with a name if it is appropriate – it doesn’t have to be your real one.
  4. Build up a bank of content and imagery. Make sure you have this in place before you try getting followers; you want to give people a reason to stay if they come across your page.
  5. Despite what they say – Facebook is not dead. And there are brilliant opportunities for targeted advertising. This means you can pay a few quid per day to promote your page and advertise it to a very defined audience – people who are likely to engage with your brand.
    1. Twitter is also a great way to interact with your audience – if your audience is on Twitter.
    2. Instagram is great for brand awareness, but is less efficient in driving traffic because you cannot do links apart from in your brand’s page’s bio.
  6. To build your brand’s presence make sure you interact with people. Start by following people and companies you want to be associated with/that you associate with – engage with what they post, comment and like.

And lastly – don’t be too impatient!

Social media is real engagement from real people and building up a reputation and a following will take some time.

You shouldn’t expect wonders overnight. But if you post consistently in a coherent manner, stick to a brand voice that suits your following and your company, you should be able to see some results after 6 – 12 months.

If you want to find out more about Yani and what she does, perhaps even get her help with your social media, you can find her website here.

We often hear how millennials (people aged between 18 and 34) are less loyal customers than the older generations in the golden days, ie. pre apps and mainstream internet. And with millenials set to take over the workforce and big parts of the spend-force in the next 5 years, it may sound scary. But is it true? Read more

Social selling is a concept that has gained traction in the last few years – following on the explosion of social media over the past decade. Although it is often thought of in relation to social media, the concept of social selling has been around forever.

Social selling is about making connections between customer and brand.

It can also mean a connection between a product and a customer; especially if you are a B2C business. For B2B, the former is usually more appropriate. Crucially; social selling isn’t hard selling. It is about creating trust and good connections.

If you manage to make positive connection between yourself, your brand and/or your products to your audience (ie. your prospective buyers), you have taken an important step towards achieving a sale. And not necessarily within your immediate group of prospects; a valuable aspect of good social selling is its potential to spread by word-of-mouth.

Humans rely on each other for advice and support, also when it comes to which brands to buy, which services to use or which restaurants to go to. People with whom we have good connections are those we trust to help us in making our own decisions. Likewise, if we are happy with a product or a brand, we often recommend it to our network.

There are two aspects to successful social selling.

1.Brand promotion. Having a social presence is important – it is expected by the majority of consumers, who want to be able to find you. It allows for a dynamic and personal relationship with them; it opens up a platform for questions and feedback to which you can respond to easily.

2. Product promotion. Being on social is a fantastic way to put your products or services in front of the consumer. Are you a restaurant? Post daily specials and mouthwatering pictures of the food you serve. A book shop? Post reviews or staff picks of the week, and let your customers contribute, too. Do you offer some sort of service? Posting before/after or testimonials can be a very powerful tool. Consumers listen to other consumers – leverage this fact.

It really comes down to one thing – being sociable. Whether you’re one-man band, a big company or a really cool brand, interacting and reaching out to your audience is vital. And equally important is it to let your customers, or prospective customers, interact with you. Make sure you always respond to comments or questions, mentions, feedback – good and bad alike.
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Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Tumblr, Bloggr, Instagram, MySpace (whoa, that’s a blast from the past), LinkedIn, Google+…..aaargh!

The list goes on, and it can be a headache trying to sort out even one functioning social media account. However if you’re a small business, the rewards for doing so could be great. 

Here are 6 things to keep in mind when it comes to social media.

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We are huge fans of independent cafés, and are on an unofficial mission to try them all! This is an extreme but enjoyable task, but we happily overindulge on caffeine and sweet treats to continue this arduous task. All in the name of supporting small businesses!

We have had numerous cups of good coffee, and a waistline-threatening range of fantastic treats. A few places stand our in our memory, because of a few things they do in addition to serving great coffee and food. One of these is the Swedish ‘Bageriet’ in Covent Garden in London. Tiny tiny café, serving great food, cakes and coffee, and l-o-v-e-l-y staff. And that’s why we remember it, and want to go back.

We’ve put together a list of 5 things that makes a coffee shop stand out. Read more