Tag Archives: twitter

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You Wouldn’t Send Your Child To The Pub, Would You …..?

 

Whether you love it or hate it, social media and online communications play a part in our everyday lives – work, rest or play.  The same can also be said for our children – choosing to talk to their peers using electronic means such as SnapChat, FB Messenger and Instagram.  But did you know that there are minimum age limits for the various social media platforms – just like smoking, drinking, voting and many other aspects of life we encounter as we go from childhood into adulthood.

A recent survey for CBBC, of 1,200 people aged between 10 and 18, found that 96 per cent were signed up to social media networks.   And it found that 78 per cent of those 1,200 people interviewed aged under 13 had joined at least one social network despite not being old enough

So, what are the age limits?

  • Facebook – 13 years old: “Creating an account with false info is a violation of our terms. This includes accounts registered on the behalf of someone under 13”
  • Instagram – 13 years old
  • Twitter – 13 years old
  • SnapChat – 13 years old
  • WhatsApp – 16 years old
  • LinkedIn – 16 years old
  • You Tube – 18 years old – but it will also allow a 13-year-old to sign up with their parent’s permission.

The NSPCC said that some sites can be a “dangerous place for younger children, potentially exposing them to bullying, inappropriate content or grooming”.   The charity found that 1,380 children – out of nearly 1,700 it surveyed – thought social media sites needed to do more to protect them and they reported seeing pornography, self-harm, bullying and hatred.

Quick Tips For Parents:-

  • Educate yourself about the various social media platforms (and remember – the Daily Mail is NOT the gospel!!)
  • Be open with your kids about social media and talk to them about the potential dangers of grooming, bullying and over-sharing. It’s a very fine line between friendly “bants” and cyberbullying.
  • Persuade your kids to accept you as a Friend/Follower. Promise you won’t hound them – but keep a respectful, watchful eye from a distance.
  • Check their Privacy Settings. Many of the social sites default to “the world and his wife” – change the settings so that only Friends/Connections can see the content your children are posting.  Food for thought:  A Profile set to Public, a simple selfie, and Location set to On means that anyone anywhere can locate your child.
  • Make sure you have access to their accounts/account passwords so that in the event of anything untoward occurring, you’ll be able to access their account and intervene if necessary.
  • Establish guidelines: how much time are your children spending on social media?  Do they have access to mobile phones/tablets after they’ve gone to bed at night?  Look out for signs such as tiredness and decreasing grades at school as these could be signs that your child isn’t sleeping at night.

Used in a positive light, social media:

  • Helps children connect with extended family and friends.
  • Helps develop better perspectives on various issues.
  • Helps learn new things, exchange ideas and hone their networking skills.
  • It helps provide an effective platform for enhancing your child’s knowledge.
  • It helps motivate children to get better at communication and encourages freedom of self-expression.

 

 

 

 

It’s Not All About You!

I’ve undertaken a fair few social media audits of late, and without exception, one of the things that leaps out time after time, across all platforms, is that businesses only tend to post about themselves.

OK, I appreciate that that’s better than not posting at all, but if you’re looking after the social media activity for a business, try to remember the 80/20 rule of thumb:  social media is not an extension of your sales funnel, so in an ideal world, only 20% of your outgoing content should be about you and YOUR business.

So, what should you post?

  • Be educational.  Share content relevant to your business/industry sector.
  • Share your knowledge.  What seems like part of the everyday to you could benefit someone reading your social media posts – think #TopTips!  Sharing your knowledge will also help to make you a “go to” source when someone has a need for something you’ve been posting about.
  • Look out for awareness days/weeks/months – these can be a great way to join in with daily trending topics and grow your audience.
  • Be current.  I recently had a frenzied three hours on Twitter on behalf of a client, Tweeting on their behalf during the final of BBC1’s The Apprentice.  As a result, their website crashed due to the increased demand in traffic (on a Sunday night!) and they had a spike in online orders.  All because I was being them, on Twitter, whilst watching TV.
  • Don’t be afraid to start conversations.  Twitter and Facebook polls are great ways to nurture engagement.  Ask questions.  It’s human nature to reply.

In summary, don’t be like Donkey.  If you take the “pick me, pick me, pick me” approach to your social media, you’ll soon lose Followers and the Likes will dry up.  Be engaging, be educational, be amusing – and they’ll keep coming back for more.

If you’re still struggling, and would like to book a Social Brainstorm, get in touch and let’s see what we can do!

5 Top Tips For Successful Networking

Now, I’m guessing you wouldn’t expect to win the first marathon you ever entered, would you?  However, if you train hard, apply yourself, invest the time and really work at it, subsequent marathons will eventually get easier, your finishing times will improve and the personal rewards will follow.

Well, the reality is that the same can be said for networking.  Time and time again, I come across  business owners who just don’t seem to get the importance of networking and the positive impact it can have on your business.  The classic line I often hear is “I went to a breakfast meeting once, but didn’t get any business from it so didn’t go back again”.

Aaaaaaaaaaarrrrrgggghhhhhh!!!!!!!!!

When done effectively, networking should play a pivotal role in how you  grow your connections and ultimately win new business.  There are so many different networking groups that trying one and dismissing the whole thing as not for you is a bit like saying “I don’t like Chinese food” when in fact you may have had noodles once and not been overly keen!

Personally, I enjoy breakfast meetings – I tend to be a morning person, plus it leaves the rest of the day free to run my business.  However, we’re not all bright-eyed and bushy-tailed at 7am – not to mention early morning commitments like packed lunches, the school run and the time it takes to commute to the workplace.   We all have different budgets for our networking efforts, as well as different levels of comfort zone.  Networking is a long-term investment, not a quick fix and I hope my 5 top tips go some way to helping you when it comes to taking the networking plunge.

  1. Shop around. Most networking groups offer one or two free visits before they ask you to commit and become a full-time member of the group.  Take advantage of this – you can usually instinctively tell if its the group for you during your free visits, and assess who the other members of the group are, potential synergy with them and work out your budget for membership (financial and time!).  However, be careful not to become a “serial networker” or you could soon find you have a reputation that is far from flattering.
  2. Prepare well, before you walk through the door for the first time.  Does the group have a website? A social media presence?  Do you know anyone already in the group? Ask them what the format is – do you need to prepare a 60 second pitch?  Is there a one-seat policy and if so, is your seat available?   Is there a membership fee? If so, is it annual or a one-off?  What are the expectations of members when it comes to bringing guests, referrals etc.  Trust me, it’s better to find all these things out up front as part of your prep than join and not live up to the Ts&Cs of membership.
  3. Learn to listen. Believe it or not, its not all about you.  A  room full of seasoned networkers should make you feel welcome – you may even get “buddied up” with a member of the group for your first visit.  Naturally,  you will be asked questions but remember to ask them back and listen with interest at the responses.  Open-ended questions (how, what, when) will make for better conversations than closed questions (do  you, have you, are you).  You’ll be surprised how much you can learn by just shutting up and listening to those around you!
  4. Think about your 60 second pitch. Plan ahead what you want to say to the room.  Rehearse it if it makes you feel better.   It may sound daft,  but when you’re standing up and the clock is ticking, its easy to forget such fundamental pieces of information like  your name and what your business is. If you need a crib sheet, have a crib sheet – there’s no shame in reading from a set of notes.  Just don’t go over the 60 seconds – if everyone else in the room can stick to it, then so can you.
  5. Collect and connect. Offer your business card to the group members and take one of theirs in exchange.  After the meeting, connect with them on LinkedIn, follow and mention them on Twitter, Like their Facebook page.  Networking doesn’t end the moment you leave the room – follow up with anyone you were particularly interested in getting to know better.  Request a 121 with them over coffee – this is where the real value of networking begins to take shape.

Hopefully, those five points will give you a head start when it comes to networking.  Over and above everything else – be yourself and be professional.  Once you’ve found a group and applied to become a member, give it time.  Networking is a long-term investment, not an express lane to get new business.

For further networking opportunities visit:

Burntwood inBusiness

BriteStart Lichfield

WiRE UK

Featured image by Mark Zaccaria Photography

Seize The #Hour!

Once you’ve got yourself set up with a Twitter account, the next step is to grow your following, after all, tweeting to no followers is akin to shouting to an empty room – nobody will hear you!An effective way to gain followers is to make the most of the various #hours which run on Twitter throughout different times of the week.  There’s a #hour for pretty much everything, if you take the time to search for them – networking groups, geographic locations, hobbyists ….. but how, and when?

  • Getting married?  Have a product or service to sell into the wedding industry?  Advice for bridezillas?  Try #weddinghour which runs every Wednesday from 8 – 9 pm.
  • If you’re the crafty type, there’s #crafthour, which occupies a cosy 7 – 8 pm slot on Sunday evenings.
  • For the gastro-tweeters amongst us there’s #foodhour every Tuesday, 8 – 9pm (warning: don’t go there on an empty stomach!)
  • Busy working mums, maybe #mumpreneurhour is the one for you – every Monday from 9pm, just after you’ve got the kids off to bed.  Genius.

#Hours are a great way to raise your brand awareness, and can act as a knowledge-sharing platform and even be an effective online networking tool.

As with all social media, there are elements of etiquette to follow:  be engaging, be courteous, re-tweet others ….. and don’t just sell, sell, sell!

Back in October 2013 I was shocked to learn that there was no such thing as #CannockHour – so I created one.   We’re up to 228 followers now and it’s slowly gathering pace – you can follow us @CannockHour and please, join in from 7 – 8pm every Thursday.

My own (@VirtualTao) following has grown significantly since joining in with the #hours.  My favourites are #BforBHour (I’m a member of the BforB Rugeley group), #WestMidsHour, #StaffordshireHour and #MidlandsHour.  There’s also #LeedsHour, #HarrogateHour, #YorkshireHour, #LondonHour …… go on, search for your own geographic #hour.  If you can’t find it – create it!

One final thing to share with you that no small business can afford to ignore:  are you taking part in #sbs?  Run by ex-Dragon Theo Paphitis, #sbs runs every Sunday from 5 – 7.30 pm.  Just tweet MrP (@TheoPaphitis) your small business in 140 characters, including the hashtag #sbs.  Of the hundreds of tweets he receives every week, he re-tweets his 6 favourites at 8pm on Monday evening.  I was successful on behalf of one of my clients in 2012 and overnight their Twitter following went through the roof.  The successful winners also get their own presence of Theo’s SBS website, and invited to #SBS events to network with other winners.

#HappyTweeting!

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