Archive for Claire

Social media in the age of social distancing

social media social distancing

It’s been a while since my last blog, like many small business owners, I’ve been juggling the difficulties of lockdown, balancing homeschooling and work, a gradual return to some sort of normality, a lovely holiday last week, and now a new lockdown.

For my clients and many other businesses, it’s been a real mixed picture over the last few months. Some are busier than ever because they are able to carry on with their work whatever the level of restrictions are. For others though, much of what they do is dependent on people being able to get out and interact with them.  Those businesses may wonder what to post on social media and if it’s worth bothering at the moment.

My advice is that it is definitely worth the effort. While many of us are confined to our homes and certainly going out less than we’re used to, we’re spending more time on social media than ever before . Businesses that do a good job of keeping in touch, offering advice and support, and generally reminding us they are there – should be in a good position as customers can return.

Build loyalty now even if you can’t turn that into sales just yet.

Here are five things you could post about:

1. Your services

What services can you offer while people are at home? Can they contact you for advice or ask to be added to a waiting list for when we do have more freedom? Do you offer gift vouchers that people could buy as presents?

2. Advice

Are there any tips and advice you can offer that relate to your area of work?

3. Questions

Ask for feedback. Use your social media channels to gauge opinions on what customers and potential customers would be interested in. Make changes if you have the time.

4. Your story

One of the reasons people support local businesses is because they are dealing with real people. Let your customers know your story. Why did you start your business and how did it get to the point its at now?

5. Outside of work

What are you up to outside of business?  As far as you are comfortable, tell people a bit about how you have adjusted to the current circumstances and some of the things you have been doing away from your business. 


And here are three ways you can support local businesses via social media:

1 Share

Facebook and Google both offer you the chance to share reviews of businesses that you’ve used in the past. Take the time to write one for a local business you’ve been a customer of. Or why not take a photo of something you’ve bought, share it on social media, and tag the business in your post. It’s guaranteed to make them smile!

2 Engage

Did you know that the more interaction a social media post gets, the more people get to see it?  Simply liking or commenting on a social media post from a local business gives it a boost and means more people are aware of what the business does.

3 Recommend

Facebook groups and other online chats are full of people asking for recommendations. Spend a few minutes suggesting the names of local businesses that you know and trust – it makes a real difference to them

I’m based in Balsall Common and many of our local businesses use #BalsallBusiness on social media, in nearby Knowle #VisitKnowle is popular. Why not search for these hashtags and support local businesses or search for the equivalent in your local area

Thinking of small business owners everywhere as they navigate yet more difficult times.

My most popular tweet

my most popular tweet

One of the things I really love about Twitter is the way you can connect with people. People you would struggle to get in touch with any other way. On Saturday night I was with my 13 year old son and his friends at the Godiva Festival. They were all really excited about seeing Jay1. They were all really disappointed when Jay1 couldn’t perform because of safety issues.

I think it was the right decision by the Godiva Festival, because it didn’t feel safe with so many people outside the Rhythm Tent wanting to get in to see him. They hugely underestimated how popular he was going to be.

Jay1 shared his disappointment across his social media channels. My son and his friends interacted via Instagram, and were very excited to spot themselves in the crowd in one of his stories. I, on the other hand, quoted one of his tweets to express our disappointment.

My son and his friend were very excited when Jay1 retweeted the tweet, and also replied to a follow up that I sent asking where else they could see him perform. It made their night and I think really demonstrates the power of Twitter to connect people. Because of Jay1’s retweet, and that it contained the hashtag #GodivaFestival the tweet has now had more impressions than any other tweet I’ve sent. Nearly 40,000 at the last count and still going up. But so what?

Screen Shot 2019-07-09 at 10.07.17

One thing this does show is that we shouldn’t place too much importance on the big numbers when we’re evaluating social media. Of the thousands of people that have seen that tweet, it’s only the person tagged in it that is of value in this situation.

Two other examples of this are a dog food company that might reach a million people with their social media posts but if none of those people own dogs, they aren’t going to sell much dog food to them. Likewise, when I worked at the Environment Agency, sometimes Number 10 would retweet our flood warning information, generating up to two million impressions. It sounds fantastic, and looks really good on the evaluation reports but actually, if there’s a flood warning in Leamington and the Leamington Courier retweets that information to a few thousand people who live and work in Leamington, it’s less people but far more targeted and valuable.

My Twitter account @clairet18 shares a mix of personal and business related content, with an emphasis on the business side of things. I tend to tweet social media news stories and support other local businesses. So in terms of achieving anything in support of my business and key objectives, all of those impressions from a conversation with Jay1 haven’t got me anywhere either. Tweets about my social media training courses, or speaking engagements that reach less people but generate me business or attendees are technically of more importance. But who can place a value on a smiling teenager!

Volunteering – good for you and your community


I was delighted to receive this card from Marie Curie as a thank you during Volunteers Week. I  love the work that I do to help them communicate their local fundraising activities through social media, particularly our local Facebook page. Along with the Balsall Common and Berkswell Marie Curie group I also help Balsall Common Lions Club, Berkswell Cricket Club, Balsall Hornets, and also our local community website and the linked social media channels.

marie curie card joint

So why do I do it? It definitely isn’t because I’ve got oodles of free time! I help Marie Curie because they looked after my mum when she was very ill. I help the Lions Club because my Dad’s been a member for over 30 years and they’ve been a part of my life for as long as I can remember. 

It is incredibly rewarding and using social media at local and community level can have fantastic results. I love sharing my knowledge, helping local clubs and groups to develop their own skills and see the results. We publicise Marie Curie events largely through social media but also use a local magazine, posters and other methods. It generates bookings for fundraising fairs, volunteers to help out with collections, and participants for our annual Weekend Wind Down walk.

Balsall Common Lions Club have noticed an increase in visitors to their annual bonfire since promoting it on Facebook  and I’m particularly pleased that some Lions I’ve trained up have really made the Facebook account their own, particularly at Christmas when they send messages from Santa letting people know about his local sleigh route around the village – great for raising awareness and helping their fundraising efforts.


social media training session


I also helped our local cricket club create a keen cohort of young players in their successful All Stars programme.

From a professional point of view, I recommend volunteering to anyone who wants to hone their skills and try out new things. I first got involved with when I was on maternity leave and keen to maintain my web updating and social media skills while I was off work.

For anyone working in large organisation your skills will be really valued by local community groups and it’s also an opportunity to test out some of the things that aren’t always possible in a big organisation.

So why not look at starting a volunteering opportunity? I’m sure there’s a local group in your area that could benefit from your time and skills.

For anyone living in the Balsall Common area please get in touch and I can match you up to a fantastic local organisation that would benefit from your support. Equally, if you’re a local charity or group looking for a bit of help with your social media I run one-off sessions, usually in Balsall Common, to offer training and upskilling. Get in touch for more details.

Wow! Signal Communications is sponsoring the Gin Bar at the Balsall Beerfest, organised by two local groups I help – Balsall Common Lions and Balsall Hornets. It’s on Saturday 29th June so you can catch me there.


Howzat! How social media led to sporting engagement

As well as small businesses, we help voluntary and community organisations to use social media to support their work.

Last year we helped Berkswell Cricket Club achieve the second highest number of sign-ups for All Stars in the whole of Warwickshire. As a mum of three keen young cricketers, it was great to be able to support the club and the wider initiative to encourage children aged 5-8 into the game. Such was the success, the club extended the sessions beyond the eight official dates and created an enthusiastic cohort of boys and girls who are now making their way through the junior ranks at the club. It also helped recruit volunteer coaches and team managers – a vital element of running a successful junior cricket section.

As the registration process for this year’s All Stars programme opens – my youngest already has his name down – I’m thinking about what made it such a success last year, and what advice I can pass on to other clubs who are aiming for a similar level of involvement.

Why did it work?

It worked because of a range of activities including social media.

National marketing

The ECB did a really good job of marketing the programme, using a variety of channels including national cinema ads as well as a widespread Facebook advertising campaign.

Local activity

Warwickshire Cricket Board ran a taster session at our local primary school. Kids arrived home with wristbands and information, having tried a fun session of cricket. Mums and dads were told how fantastic it was and to sign them up straight away!

Facebook – public and private

We’d published a Facebook post on the Berkswell Cricket Club Juniors page with all the sign-up details to make it quick and easy for parents to find the information they needed and register for local sessions. This post was then shared into a private local Facebook group of school moms and also in WhatsApp groups. It was this combination of public information and private sharing that really helped to convert interest into sign ups.

My tips for local All Stars success

howzat collage

  1. Keep an eye out on national social media posts and share them to your club page and retweet them from your Twitter account. Your local cricket Board is likely to have a social media presence, so remember to tag them in to improve your reach.
  2. Make it easy for people to find your information, here’s our post for this year. Include all the details and a direct link to the sign-up page. Share it to as many relevant Facebook groups as you can, these are a key way that local people find out what’s going on.
  3. Use a ‘call to action’ – ask parents to share posts and tweets. Ask online, ask in person, ask by email if you have a list. If you don’t ask, you don’t get!
  4. Make it as exciting as possible and involve parents and kids. Ask parents to share pictures to your club page of children enjoying the All Stars Cricket experience – maybe when their personalised kit arrives.
  5. Speak to your local school – most primaries issue regular newsletters. Ask them to share your information via their online and paper communications. Schools are always keen to promote exercise and health, particularly if it is happening in their local community.

In the first week of activity to promote All Stars 2019, Berkswell have already filled 40 of their 80 places for this year! Here’s looking forward to the summer!


Make the most of Small Business Saturday

Small Business Saturday

I was delighted to be the guest speaker for the Balsall Business Club last week in their new venue, the Jubilee Centre. I spoke about Small Business Saturday and how to make the most of it, for anyone who couldn’t make it, here’s what I covered:

What is Small Business Saturday?

The aim of Small Business Saturday is to highlight the success of small businesses and encourage consumers to shop local, supporting independent businesses in their community. It was started by American Express, covers any business with a turnover of under £10million and is now in its 5th year.  This year Small Business Saturday is 2 December.

How can it help you?

  • Publicity – Sign up for the free directory so if people are looking for a business like yours, they’ll find you.
  • Logos – Download the marketing materials so you can show your support for the day.
  • Advice – There’s tons of useful advice and information on the website about all aspects of running your business

how small business saturday helps

How to use Small Business Saturday?

Essentially it is an opportunity to tell your story.  Remember, people like to buy from people, so show them who you are.  Tell the about why you started your business, how your business is different from your competitors or big names. Show your passion, what do you love about your business, why do you do what you do? This post about our first year as a limited company was really popular.

Share it

You can write up your story as a blog on your website just like this, if you haven’t got your own is there someone else who could host it for you? If you have a Facebook Page you can add it as a Note (it could look like this). On LinkedIn? Add it as an article.  Share the links on your social media accounts.

Get noticed

Connect and engage with the Small Business Saturday social media accounts, they use Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.  Use the hashtag #SmallBizSatUK. Tag their accounts and those of partners, supporters and anyone else you want to notice your story in your social media posts.  Help others too; if you share their story it might prompt them to share yours too.

If you write up your story for Small Business Saturday or have other plans let me know, I’d be happy to support you.

Visit the Small Business Saturday website for all the information and downloads you need to make it a success for your business.

To find out more about the Balsall Business Club visit their website.

Wow! We are 1!

social media company marks first birthday

It’s a year since Wow! Signal Communications took the step to become a limited company, and what a first year it has been.

When I took a few minutes to reflect on the past year and the move from freelance social media consultant to company director, it made me realise just how big a change it has been.

Firstly, it’s not just me. A year ago my husband, James, joined Wow! Signal Communications for a day a week to help me manage the extra clients we had taken on and to add his experience as a specialist writer and communications professional. It was a change that helped our work-life balance as well as the business itself, and I’m glad to say that we work together well. We’ve built an office at home, taken on business support and drawn up plans for the future. For two years is was just me, freelancing while juggling being a busy mum to three young boys. We’re now a family business.

wow signal communications social media office

We’ve grown our retained client list to 12 and are really excited by the range of businesses we support. James and I are fortunate to be working with some truly dedicated and talented people whether they are specialist agencies, technology companies, professional services or healthcare providers. All of them using our support to connect with their customers and grow through social media. We’ve been proud to have grown organically – through recommendations and testimonials – and a big thanks to those who have supported our business and believed in us.

We’ve taken new directions too. We saw that more and more people valued the one-to-one advice we gave, so we’ve developed a training offering for sole traders and small businesses where they can sit down with me for an hour and get personalised, specific social media advice. And it’s not just business training anymore. Parents must now navigate the world of social media on behalf of their children, and we’re developing courses to help them understand how to do that.

The variety is something I love about my work. This month I was involved in the counter terrorism practice exercise Border Reiver. I work for The Social Simulator, role-playing members of the public and journalists to simulate how social media plays out during an incident. It is fabulous to work with such a talented team on an incredibly important piece of work.

Image credit PA. From BBC news story about Operation Reiver

Image credit PA. From BBC news story about Operation Reiver

Increasingly, our clients are widening the range of support from us. This year has seen us take our first steps into the world of branding, and to have our first proposal approved and implemented was a proud day for us.

Our plans for the coming year?

We stay committed to our fantastic clients, while developing our training services. We spend more time on promoting our business and sharing our thoughts. We adapt and grow as the demands of our family life change.

Here’s to another fantastic year!

Does your business need a Facebook boost?

Facebook for Business course

Why Facebook for business?

More than half of the UK’s population and 76% of the UK’s internet users have a Facebook account. Despite reports of Facebook being on its way out, the number of people using Facebook far exceeds any other social media channel and there are still a large number of social media users who only have a Facebook account and don’t have any other accounts.

This is clearly shown in Ofcom’s most recent Adults Media Use and Attitudes report for 2017.

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So if you are looking for a way to talk to your customers, chances are they are on Facebook and your business could be making use of it to communicate with them.

It is easy to use, much simpler than a website to update, and can be managed any time, from anywhere, as long as you have a smart phone. If you need help, then I offer Facebook for Business training, but here’s some key things to think about.

You’ll need a business page, which remains separate from your personal profile, so you don’t have to mix the two if you don’t want to.  You can have more than one person who updates the page so if there are two or three people within your business who are keen they can all help manage the page.

What to post on Facebook?

Once you’re up and running you can let people know what your business is up to, any offers you are running, last minute changes to opening hours, or you could ask for feedback on new products or ideas.  It is best to post most days, and as well as information about you and your business you could also post links to relevant news stories or share posts from other pages that you think your customers would be interested in. People also love behind the scenes updates and information, it might be day-to-day stuff for you, but it builds a connection with your customers and potential customers.

You can also interact with other local businesses by posting on their Facebook pages and community sites such as Balsall Common.  If you add something interesting to their page they may share it with their fans, boosting your audience.

The only down side is that Facebook won’t show your posts to everyone who likes your page, there is a complicated formula that determines how many of them will see your updates each time you post, but there are ways to ensure you reach lots of people.

Facebook advertising

One of them is to pay – Facebook offers some very targeted advertising options, and you can select your audience by age, location, interests, and parents with children of a particular age. As prices start from just a few pounds, you don’t need a big budget. But you do need to be careful to select the right options to get the best results.

So what are you waiting for, your customers are on Facebook, are you making the most of it?

Learn more about Facebook

If you aren’t sure how to make the best of your Facebook page, why not come along to my next Facebook for Business training course. We’ll go through the differences between a personal profile and a page, the best times to post, the best content to post, how you can check whether your updates are working, and crucially how to use video on Facebook – a vital skill if you want to make the most of your Facebook Page.

Facebook for Business Training course

Do I need a new social media channel?

new channel

My 11 year-old son, a keen and sensible youtuber asked me a question last night –

“I want to start a second youtube channel, can you set it up for me?”

It’s a common theme on training courses I deliver and for clients – I often get asked to set up new channels, or if new ones are a good idea. And my response is the same as I gave my son.

Do you have a separate audience you are trying to reach?

Are your target audience using social media channels that you aren’t currently? If not, then why do you need a new channel? It is far better to put your efforts into building the one you have through engaging content that informs, educates or entertains and use networking hours and hashtags effectively.

There are often valid reasons to set up different social media channels. I used to work for the Environment Agency and they have a range of channels, particularly on Twitter. They maintain a national twitter account @EnvAgency as well as regional accounts such as my local one @EnvAgencyMids. The content varies on those channels – the regional accounts carry information only really of interest to local people for example flood warnings. Move to another level and you have well-followed staff such as @TrevorRenalsEA who have an interest in either local or specialised issues; in Trevor’s case it’s invasive plant species. Each account has its own specific audience. Trevor’s detailed look at invasive non-native species is perfect for other specialists in that field, but wouldn’t suit the national account that covers a huge range of subjects and a wide geographical area. Sometimes the national and regional accounts retweet content from individuals and vice versa. During #invasivesweek the content did overlap to broaden the reach of messages about non-native species. The Environment Agency accounts are all captured in this Twitter list if you want to have a look through and see how they do it.

Do you have enough content for an additional channel?

Another important question to ask yourself is – do you have enough content to satisfy a second channel? This is particularly important if you’re struggling with content for the channels that you already have. Do you have enough to sustain it for the future? You need to be able to regularly service all your channels and keep the information fresh and interesting. As technology develops, it’s always tempting to jump into a new channel, without thinking about what you’d use it for.

So in many cases, as I told my son, the answer is unless you’ve got something different to say to different people – ‘build on what you have and do it well’.  He doesn’t have a discrete audience for another account and sometimes struggles to know what to post on his current account. But as he’s 11 and his mum has advised him to do one thing, obviously he’s ignored me and now has two youtube channels!

A check list to work through if you are thinking about a new channel

1 – What is my overall objective, whether it is leads or sales for a business, communicating with the public for a government agency, or engaging supports for a charity – your social media activity should support your work and aims.

2 – How are my current channels performing?  This can help you to decide whether to add new ones, replace one or more of them, or stick with what you’ve got.

3 – Who is my target audience and where do they spend their time? You need to go to where your audience are and communicate with them there, rather than expect them to come and find you.

4 – Do I have enough content to sustain another channel?

5 – Do I have the right sort of content to sustain another channel? If not, do you have the budget or resources to create the right content?

Snapchat advertising is now mainstream – so who is using it?

snapchat mainstream-2

Snapchat advertising is becoming a key part of campaigns. I’ve noticed lenses and filters from a wide range of companies on my account recently, including some that you might not expect to be using Snapchat.

John Lewis Snapchat advertising

Always eagerly awaited, this year’s John Lewis Christmas advert was very well received and generated a huge amount of social media traffic.  As in previous years it was launched on social media in the morning before appearing on television later that day.

For the first time this year, John Lewis also used Snapchat advertising. You could turn yourself into Buster the Boxer with the ad music playing and woodland creatures bouncing around.

I think this really shows the growth and increasing importance of Snapchat advertising over the past year. Hopefully we’ll get to find out a bit more about how popular the lens was and an indication of its value to John Lewis.

Who else uses Snapchat advertising?

Other companies using Snapchat advertising recently include Bacardi and Superdrug, Channel 4 for the new series of Humans,

snapchat lenses

and slightly more unexpectedly the Royal Shakespeare Company (RSC).

Calculating a precise return on investment for social media is difficult and becoming more so. In the case of Snapchat, and other channels where direct calls to action and clickable links are either non-existent or hard work, we aren’t left with much to evaluate.

Channels and content are overlapping more and more too. A quick scan through the Instagram search results for #BustertheBoxer included many images created in Snapchat.  When I saw the RSC ad, I googled RSC and Intel to find out more about the advert I had seen.  The only way the RSC can measure the impact of the Snapchat ad is if they do no other advertising at the same time.

I love Snapchat and think the advertising potential is only going to grow and grow.  If you haven’t already started using it, why not give it a go.  You can find me as claireturner18 or use my Snapcode (save the image on your phone then choose ‘Add Friends’, ‘Add via Snapcode’ to use this.)


Happy snapping!

Election news bot cuts through the chatter

election news bot

Like many people, I was amazed to wake up to the news that Donald Trump was close to winning the US Presidential election. As the day has gone on the final result is gradually sinking in.  I’m a big fan of Hillary Clinton and wrote my dissertation on her transformation of the role of First Lady, so I was particularly disappointed by the result.

Not least because one of my main sources of US election news the New York Times Facebook Messenger bot, had updated me daily with the chances of Hillary Clinton winning, and not once did it drop below an 86% chance she would be victorious.

FB Messenger bot

However you’ve kept up to date with election news – in print, online, or via new technology – the polls were largely wrong.  I think the model the New York Times has used to reach people is really interesting. Social media has changed the way we consume news, it’s a long time since people favoured one paper, bought a daily copy and read it from cover to cover.  These days we get our news from multiple sources and in a variety of ways.

Twitter was a key channel on election night, with millions of tweets sent as the results came in. But it is becoming increasingly hard for publishers to make their content stand out among all the noise on social media.  The use of Facebook Messenger is one way to overcome this.  By signing up for the New York Times bot, I received daily updates with notifications. Had I liked their Facebook page I would only have seen a fraction of the content I did.

I liked the fact that I only got updates on a particular subject area.  I think we’ll see far more of this type of publishing in future, tailored to our individual interests, and in this way news organisations can reach more of their potential audience.  Sadly it can’t change the election result for this year.