Archive of ‘Marketing’ category

Instagram for Business

instagram imagesIt’s not a new social media site, but it is definitely one that is seeing more and more adoption by businesses to market their products & services.

Instagram is a rapidly growing photo and video sharing platform with more than 150 million users and 16 billion photos shared. Over 55 million photos are shared on Instagram to a very engaged community every single day.

With Instagram, you can tell a story with both photos and videos. As soon as you upload an Instagram image, you can see within seconds that someone has liked it.

You can link your Instagram account to facebook and extend the reach of your images & videos to both audiences.

Like twitter & facebook, you can use #hashtags to create a common theme for your images, and encourage visibility of your brand, products and adjectives which best describe them.

How can you encourage your customers to interact with your brand & instagram account…get them to take photos of your products, tag them with your hashtag, run a competition etc? Time to get creative!

Social Media Examiner have done a fabulous interview and article on using Instagram to marketing your business, with a feature on a boutique – how can you add Instagram to your online marketing strategy, connect with a wider audience and sell more of your products or service?

Please share your Instagram account with us in the comments – we’d love to take a look!

We’re looking forward to using Instagram to promote our upcoming Dundee Jobsfair and the vacancies that our exhibitors will have…it’s a great way for us to reach an extended set of people who might not be able to make it along in person #jobsfairdundee

Alison

 

App Spotlight: Evernote

So, this is a new-to-the-Blog feature, where I will share an app that I use for business, and give a bit of an overview on how I use it, and why I really like it!

First in the series is a new’ish app that I’ve ended up with almost by accident…Evernote.

evernote

Evernote is a ‘freemium’ app – based on a pricing strategy where a product or service (typically a digital offering such as software, media, games or web service) is provided free of charge, but money (premium) is charged for proprietary features, functionality etc.

I currently use the free, basic service, which sells itself on the following benefits:

  • Organize your life.
  • Workspace for daily projects
  • Keep everything together
  • Sync across all devices

I ended up as an Evernote user because the business card scanning app I used (Cardmunch, by LinkedIn) was being withdrawn, and they were encouraging users to transfer data to Evernote.

At that time, all I was using the app for was to scan business cards (using my iPhone camera), and then adding contacts to my database and connecting to key contacts on LinkedIn.

I’ve found Evernote to be even better than Cardmunch was for this service, but it does SO much more.

I can take notes, create reminders, to do lists, create notebooks around different subjects, to help organise projects etc. I can signpost web pages to return to, or which relate to different projects, and I can take photos of receipts & other documents that relate to work projects.

And although I started using it on my iPhone, through my Evernote account, I can access all of the information on all my devices – laptop, iPad etc.

A useful feature on my laptop is the little ‘clip’ where I can take a screenshot of the full screen, a window, or part of the screen – although there are other programmes which do this for me, as Evernote runs in the background, and sits quietly on my taskbar, its so easy to access!

But above all, the main use I have for this brilliant app is to make sure I keep track of people that I meet, storing their contact information and connecting myself to them – I can then use that business card scan picture to add notes to remind myself of where I met them, and create any follow-up actions as necessary.

It’s just such a handy part of my day-to-day working life!

I’d love to hear if you use it and have other ways to make it work for you…or even if you have another similar one that you’d recommend?

I will be making these App Spotlights into a series, so if you are looking for an app that fits a particular purpose and you’re wondering what I & others here at My Pinkie Promise use, just ask and I will look to feature that next!

Alison

@alisonhendo

via Remember everything with Evernote, Skitch and our other great apps. | Evernote.

Content is King!

content sharingHow do you manage the content that you share on your social media accounts?

Here are 7 of the many habits that I make part of my regular routine to find and share good content amongst my network & business contacts that I hope they will find useful:

 

  1. Use the PULSE app to categorise the news articles that you see, and that you can then share on via your social networks. This is the stand alone news app from LinkedIn which has amazing content
  2. Use good news apps in the same way: BBC, Sky News etc
  3. Like pages on Facebook that you know will give you good content, e.g. Dundee & Angus Chamber of Commerce
  4. Use a bookmark tool to set aside good articles that you want to make more of, write a blog post on etc – I use Apple’s Reading List across all of my devices, whether I see something interesting on my iPhone, Macbook or iPad, I know that I will have a shared list that I can go back to and look over when I am ready
  5. Create lists on twitter to aggregate the people on twitter that you know generally share good articles and contacts – that way you can quickly access their tweets and easily share it on
  6. Write a blog – create your own content! You can make your blog posts as long or as short as need be, but taking time to write your own pieces will help showcase your skills and make you stand out as knowledgeable in that field
  7. Use great websites like Mashable to find relevant articles that I like to share, from categories such as business, social media etc

“Traditional Marketing talks at people, Content Marketing talks with them.” ~ Doug Kessler

Sharing great content allows you to enter into conversations with your social media contacts and really spark lots of interaction! Have fun with it…

Alison

Quality_Content_Inklyo_Infographic_thumbnail

 

 

50% off our training in Marketing & Social Media Skills

UPDATED:

Flexible Training Opportunities | Our Skillsforce.

We’re delighted to see clients already applying for training grants from Skills Development Scotland to support their marketing and social media skills for business in 2014!

You may qualify for 50% of the cost of our workshops, funded by the Flexible Training Opportunities Fund – to find out more including details of how to apply, visit http://www.ourskillsforce.co.uk – you must have your approval for the funding before booking & attending a workshop, so don’t delay if you’re looking for their assistance in supporting your training.

Our Social Media for Business course dates have been announced and the July dates are available for booking – just let us know if you are applying for funding and want to reserve a place. See the events tab above for all info.

We’ll be publishing dates of our other group courses very soon, but you can also benefit from 1-2-1 training support in a whole range of skills from marketing planning, online marketing to more specific social media for business, or a deep dive into individual platforms, such as facebook twitter, LinkedIn or event Pinterest!

Call our team on 01382 221078 to find out more

 

What do I think about CONFIDENCE?

What do I think about CONFIDENCE? | the3rdi magazine | the UK’s foremost co-operative business magazine.

I wrote an article recently for the 3rdi magazine, where the question for the writers was ‘What does confidence mean to you?’ So, my thoughts are below: trying to stick to the word count was a challenge (not altogether a surprise, especially to those of you who know me well!)…I’d love to hear what you think?

And if Confidence is something that interests you, it’s also the theme of a Conference that I’m involved with in Edinburgh on 8th May – why not join us to flex your confidence muscle & meet lots of new women in business from across Scotland? I believe that everyone needs to work at their Confidence…there are very few people for whom it’s completely second nature!

http://www.wbeconference.co.uk

@wbeconference

073307-pink-jelly-icon-alphanumeric-quote-open2Having been a working adult for (whispers) nearly thirty years, much of my confidence and cues for confidence have come from work scenarios.

I’m a wife, and a working Mum who for the last five years has run her own business.

When I look back over the jobs I have done, I can see that I have gained lots of confidence in the various roles I have carried out, and I come from a family background where I became very self-sufficient at quite an early age.

I’m sure that much of the confidence I have in myself is down to the control, and feeling of being in-charge, which I’m realising is such a major part of who I am.

When I ask myself if I’ve always been confident, what I realise is that some of that exterior confidence is a bit of bravado, mixed with quite a lot of ‘jumping right in’ and a dash of “I know that I can pick things up really quickly, so let’s just wing it and see where it gets me”.

So I’m asking myself “Do I feel CONFIDENT?” – well the answer to that is the old 80/20 rule rearing it’s head again…80% of the time I do feel confidence: in my abilities to tackle the job at hand, learn the skills I might need to complete & do a good job. 20% of the time I might be questioning whether I can do something, whether I am the right person to be doing it and if it’s all actually going to turn out ok!

I’ve learned over 30 years that I CAN handle most of what is thrown at me in a work scenario – the times I have chosen to move jobs have been for new challenges or promotions, and only ONCE in all that time did I decide to get out because of a fairly difficult work colleague who made it awkward for our team to fully function when she was there.

I make conscious decisions to surround myself with people & work colleagues who have a positive influence on me, or my work. I enjoy working on my own initiative, working with others and leading teams.

Looking back at some of the managers I’ve had, I don’t even need a whole hand to count the ones who have motivated me and, for me, have been inspiring role models. What often happens is that a person is promoted to manage a team because they are technically very able, but they are hardly ever supported to learn the soft skills of people management – that can have a really draining effect on team & individual confidence. And let’s face it I don’t actually think many of them felt very confident in their abilities to lead.

Probably because I like to be in control, I can sense when others are finding it difficult, and I like to jump in and help out – I’m not sure that’s always the best solution!

In 2008 I was made redundant after being with the company 11 years, along with around 20 others across a couple of teams, it was a real shock to the system – lack of control you see (spotting a pattern anyone?)! For a week or so I felt really out of sorts and had no clue how to get my bearings. I took the time to enjoy my family, meeting my son from school and spending time with friends.

After a few weeks I began to realise that I was in a good position to try my hand at self-employment, and with the support of my husband and family I set about finding out how to go about setting up my company and grabbing hold of as many new skills and free workshops that Business Gateway could give me!

I can honestly say that during the first year of business it was the most exciting and scary time – I don’t think for even one moment I questioned whether I could do it or not…what I do remember is constantly evolving during that year, testing my products & services, the marketing messages I was using etc.

I was getting the confidence to continue from the success of running the business, getting new clients and meeting lots of new people.

I am often questioned about the fact that I seem to know lots of people and whether I had a large network of contacts and existing business that transferred to me from my old role.

I’m proud to say that 99% of the contacts that I had pre-My Pinkie Promise were based in Edinburgh & Glasgow, and south of the border – none of the work that I generated came from existing contracts or customers…I’ve built from the ground up.

I know that the work that we do is highly regarded, and that’s important to me from a personal confidence perspective – maintaining that quality, while gaining new customers and working on new projects is what inspires me.

I get real inspiration from the people around me, and role models in my life. I’ve got huge respect for two previous female directors that I worked for, who gave me enormous support and confidence in my abilities to succeed.

Many of the women that I now work and collaborate with give me confidence too – learning how they got to where they are now, or understanding that we all face the same challenges in running a business while juggling families & relationships serves to remind me that others have worn a path that I know I can follow, while doing it my with my own spin!

I’m absolutely an Optimist through and through – but I’m also an Opportunist. I may finally be beginning to believe that I’m a natural entrepreneur – now that I have the heady rewards of running a business, my antenna are SO switched on to new projects and exciting possibilities that I’ve no idea why my feet touch the ground as much as they do:

confidence in myself is the key!073305-pink-jelly-icon-alphanumeric-quote-close2

More of the 3rdi magazine articles on confidence can be found here – enjoy!

Finalist in Most Enterprising Business Award 2014

2014 WA Awards Finalist logo
I’m really thrilled to be a shortlisted finalist in the Women Ahead Most Enterprising Business Award for 2014…we’ll find out on 15th March who the award winners are!

Social Media for Business – Workshops

The world of social media marketing for businesses is such a huge one and as I prepare to deliver the first of a two-part session for local businesswomen’s group Women Ahead in Dundee & Angus, I’m realising that although I would admit to being a fairly comfortable user of social media, I sometimes feel that I’m barely scratching the surface!?????????????????????

From #hashtags and keywords, to engaging content, measurement and using the best platform for the right business, it’s a pretty complex landscape.

So, tomorrow we will be covering the basics of the different platforms, who is the audience on the main ones and what are the features that you can use to better market your business to the right audiences for you.

I can’t stress enough the famous line ‘If you fail to PLAN, you plan to FAIL’ (or words to that effect!), so we will be looking at:

  • Understand WHAT you are trying to do
  • Be clear on WHO you are aiming to reach
  • Know (and test!) WHERE you will find them
  • Have a social media plan
  • Make sure you are consistently ENGAGING
  • Be clear on WHEN & HOW you will post
  • Share a mixture of updates (text, photos, articles, interesting news etc)

Make sure your updates are during the times that your audience will see them – no point in tweeting during the night if all of your UK followers are asleep!

Social media concept in word tag cloudKeep an eye on your analytics and above all else:

RESPOND QUICKLY WHEN SOMEONE REPLIES OR CONTACTS YOU – WITHIN THE HOUR IF POSSIBLE, BUT CERTAINLY WITHIN 24 HOURS – IF YOU SNOOZE YOU LOSE!

 

Find us on Facebook, follow my ramblings on Twitter, and keep an eye on my Pinterest boards – loads to interact with…I’d love to hear from you!

AlisonAlison Henderson

Are we ‘Enterprising’?

I’ve been involved in some brilliant events this year, exploring the theme of ‘Enterprise’ and I’m really interested in how enterprise and the smaller businesses underpin our economy.

What often makes me stop & think is the actual terms that we use…enterprising, entrepreneur, business person etc.

I run my own business and have been called an entrepreneur by lots of people – sometimes with a hint of admiration, because they see running a business as an aspiration of their own, or somehow think I’m lucky to be doing it, and on at least one occasion is it was because they thought it was great that I was a risk taker! However, I don’t really see myself as walking around with that label above my head – not sure why?

Being enterprising seems (to me at least) to be a slightly strange way to describe this in a business context – one definition of enterprising is ‘having or showing initiative and resourcefulness’ – and I can see that many business people do exhibit that behaviour, but I believe I’ve been that all through my career – so using the word as an adjective to describe a business owner doesnt feel spot on to me.

At any rate, I suppose what I am getting at is, how will we inspire the people of Scotland – whether they are work for others or are coming out of school & wondering what to do next – to get involved in running their own businesses, generating their own income, fueling the economy and making things happen for themselves if we use words like enterprise, entrepreneur which can mean so many different things, to so many different people?

I guess the best thing we can do is to showcase as many success stories as possible so that people can identify themselves in some way with the person in front of them, whether that’s

  • full-time, running a team of people
  • part-time running a business round a family, second job or caring for someone
  • in partnership with someone else who complements your skills
  • a sole trader working at in a role that they love, producing products or services that people value

There are many ways to run a business, and many many measures of success for the individual involved – and no-one else can (or should be allowed to) make judgements on that success. For me, having the control & ability to ‘make my own money’ and do something that I absolutely love to do is the best (and hardest) way to earn a living that I’ve come across so far!

We have a responsibility to give everyone who wants to do it the resources, information and support that they need – Scotland is a nation with a rich history of invention, innovation, business, leaders and success – and I am proud to be running a business in a beautiful place, with a group of peers who constantly inspire and motivate me – and remind me of why I’m doing it in the first place!

As the Vice-President of the Association of Scottish Businesswomen, I am excited to be part of a team delivering the only Scottish conference aimed at women and business – so get the date in your diary: 9 May 2013 – you definitely won’t want to miss it. It will be a day packed full of interesting speakers; debate; workshops to learn, be inspired and motivated; networking and you will come away from it more determined than ever to build a future for Scotland where women-run businesses will continue to make an enormous impact on our economy – that’s much more than a win, win situation!

WBE Conference

WBE Conference

  http://www.wbeconference.co.uk

 

Dundee is the home of the brave!

ozoneeleven.com

I’ve been to several conferences in the last few weeks where the economy, future of the area and business can get ready for future opportunities.

What I have heard has really inspired me, not only as a Scottish business owner, but as a person living, working and bringing up a family in Dundee.

Visit Scotland are involved in a concerted campaign over the next 2 years to bring to life a series of milestones to drive tourism and interest in all things Scottish. From large scale events like the Commonwealth Games & the Ryder Cup to marketing around projects such as the Jubilee, Disney’s new film Brave and the themed years culminating in the Year of Homecoming 2014, there are plenty of opportunities for business to hook into, to help their own marketing work.

Dundee and Angus is a thriving location, and as the sunniest City in Scotland, its easy to see why large capital projects like the Dundee Waterfront and V&A at Dundee are taking place.

Having a bold, forward thinking strategy for a region is just the catalyst that is needed to bring inward investment and attract companies such as Malmaison to open a new flagship hotel.

There are many success stories in the business world too, from BrightSolid’s relaunch of Friends Reunited and their CEO Chris van der Kuyl receiving an award this month from the Institute of Directors; Mackays making amazing jams & preserves in Arbroath, Insights winning Customer Focus award at the Scottish Business Awards, Michelin going from strength to strength at its Dundee plant and many many small businesses continuing to do well in the region, we have much to be proud of and aspire to.

At an Economic Summit in the city yesterday, David Dorward Chief Executive of Dundee City Council led several public and private organisations in an event aimed at ‘laying the foundations for future prosperity in our communities’. Nearly 300 people from local businesses, the education sector, the Chamber of Commerce, the public sector and local & national politicians were in the room to discuss the economic future and positive future developments in Dundee.

And at a National Convention for Youth Employment hosted by Dundee College a large audience heard from Michael Moore MP, Secretary of State for Scotland; Iain Duncan Smith MP, Secretary of State for Work & Pensions plus John Swinney & Angela Constance both MSPs about the issue of how we tackle the future of our young people and ensuring they are well prepared.

However….here is my own personal take on things with a note of caution:

POINT 1: At all of these recent events very very little was done to engage pre, during or after the event via social media. More than 66% of adults use one or more social media platforms – and its widely unknown that 46% of facebook users are aged 45 or older! I certainly found no official event or host organisation use of social media on the day – if they did, they certainly didnt promote it at the events.

At the summit yesterday, there were a handful (less than 10 of us) on twitter using #DundeeEconomicSummit – with a room full of business professionals, I find this quite disturbing. As leaders, engagers in the community and business people, how do we expect to be able to take the brilliant messages & optimism that was in that room and share it if we don’t use a communication tool which is used by so many? There are some very good pieces in the local newspaper today – but I wonder how many of you have seen that?

POINT 2: what is the take-away concrete action from any of these events to keep the audience engaged with the process and build on all the positive things that happened? Apart from yesterday, where we were invited to email someone (without being given their address) if we felt we’d like to take part in ‘something’ in the future, there were absolutely no real next steps for the audiences – no dates to diarise, no websites to look up or register with and absolutely no social media platforms to receive ongoing specific news from.

So in summary – I’ve been very lucky to have attended some exceptional and really inspirational events in the recent weeks but afterwards am simply sent on my way and little by little, as the day job creeps back in, that enthusiasm & energy seeps away and we go back into our individual roles, losing the power of the larger group and movement for future good. So I guess its up to me to make my own next steps count!

MPP logo

Thanks for reading…….Alison

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