Tag Archive for Social Media

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.

Screen Shot 2017-08-24 at 12.10.57

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.

Ground control to Major Tim

Like many people, I’ve been fascinated by Tim Peake’s journey into space, and I’ve learnt so much in the last few days.

As a family we have enjoyed researching the space station and life as an astronaut. The things my boys wanted to know were the popular things; two of the top four google search suggestions for ‘how do astro…’ are toilet related!
How do astronauts
Our journey highlights the way many of us now consume news and information. We don’t use one newspaper, website, or TV news programme.  Between us we used a wide range of sites and sources, including traditional books, but more often than not a computer, tablets, TV programmes watched on demand, and social media.

For today’s launch while I was at home I watched BBC News, while I was out and about I relied on Twitter to keep me up to date.  Tonight, when we realised our recording of the BBC special had ended before the big moment when the hatch opened and the astronauts entered the space station, we were saved by a tweet from @space_station with a video clip of history in the making.

Twitter is brilliant for live news and updates. This evening BBC News were using posts from the @space_station account for their live programme. So much easier for NASA than having to issue updates and images to journalists in any other way.

I’d urge Twitter to leave well alone with their ideas for changing news feeds. Live updates like this wouldn’t have worked on Facebook where the posts wouldn’t have gone to everyone and wouldn’t necessarily have been in chronological order. I haven’t had time to explore Twitter’s new moments tab yet but I haven’t seen much to encourage me so far.


One of the other things I love about Twitter is the ease with which people can connect. Tim Peake has had good luck messages from a huge variety of tweeters including @duranduran @JamesBlunt and @TheWho. Pre-Twitter it would have been much harder for those people to get in touch and have those conversations.


My favourite interaction has to be this one, only on Twitter could Simon Le Bon chat to NASA:


One of the key aims of Tim Peake’s mission is to inspire kids to want to become astronauts and so far I can say it has been hugely successful in our house, helped in no small part by some great tweeting. I’m looking forward to @astro_timpeake’s tweets from the Space Station.

Help says Hillary (and that’s OK) :-)

Photo credit: Marc Nozell https://www.flickr.com/photos/marcn/

Hillary Clinton was mocked last week for emailing an aide for help to use emoji on her new BlackBerry.

A cheap laugh for lots of websites and news organisations, but pretty unfair criticism I think. I admit to a quiet admiration for Hillary and I’ve defended her before.

It’s perfectly sensible to ask for help if you don’t know how to do something; that’s how we learn things. If the person you are asking is a specialist, chances are they’ve been asked before, and probably even more ‘simple’ questions than yours.

There are many things we don’t know how to do. No one is an expert on everything and while I’m pretty good at how to use emoji and many other areas of social media and technology, I’m willing to bet there is an awful lot that Hilllary knows that I don’t.

It’s great that she wants to keep up to date, use the full functionality of the technology that she has and bring a bit of life to her communications. Far too many politicians don’t use these tools as well as they could, or need someone else to do it for them.

I love helping people learn new things and I’m always happy to answer questions no matter how small or how silly they seem. If people leave one of my training sessions with unanswered questions – then I haven’t done my job properly.

Social media and technology change all the time and we need to ask questions to learn and keep up to date. Learning is exciting and I love sharing new things with clients and friends.

So if you’ve got any questions, no matter how silly you think they might be – ask away. Comment here, tweet, DM or email me. Whatever you are most comfortable with. I’ll blog the answers to any questions I get (without revealing the person asking the question of course).

Happy learning :-)

PS My favourite use of emojis has to be this post from Andy Murray on his wedding day.

Andy Murray wedding emoji


Hillary Clinton Photo Credit: Marc Nozell

Why Wow! Signal Communications?

I was asked again this week how I chose my company name. I have my husband to thank for it, and as soon as he suggested it I loved the idea.

We’ve been scanning the universe for years in the hope that we’re not alone. All we’ve heard is a steady background hum. That is until 1977 (the year I was born), when a team of US scientists at the Big Ear radio telescope in Ohio picked up a one-off signal that fitted the profile of an alien transmission. It wasn’t at a frequency used by human beings, and it didn’t come from natural sources. Interstellar scintillation, the sound of a star twinkling, has also been ruled out.

As the instruments flicked into life, the computer chattered out a paper report. A scientist marked the extraordinary printout with a simple “Wow!” and the Wow! Signal was born. For nearly 40 years telescopes have scanned the part of the sky where the Wow! Signal came from. Silence.

Credit: The Ohio State University Radio Observatory and the North American AstroPhysical Observatory (NAAPO)

Credit: The Ohio State University Radio Observatory and the North American AstroPhysical Observatory (NAAPO)

It remains the only message to cut through the cosmic noise for decades.

In the eighteen months Wow! Signal Communications has been up and running I’ve loved cutting through the noise and getting messages through on behalf of local small businesses. Setting up my own business was a big step and I’ve been very lucky to have lots of family support and some great clients to make it a real success. I’m looking forward to the next eighteen months and more.

Bowled over by cricket’s social media approach #youbears

It’s been a while since I last wrote a blog, largely thanks to a very busy summer, a fair proportion of which has been spent in and around the game of cricket.

In many ways it is still a very traditional sport including the (highly impractical for small boys) white clothing, and we’ve had some lovely afternoons eating picnics at picturesque grounds watching my eldest play.

cricket in summer

But it is also a sport that has changed massively in recent years and at every level is embracing the benefits that digital and social media can bring.

As a treat for good school reports I took my two eldest to see a Warwickshire T20 blast, we tweeted them our news, and not only was it retweeted, we had a lovely reply,

a great example of the friendly tone that works so well on social media, and to top it off the photo was shown on the big screen at the ground, which my kids thought was brilliant.  


My eldest was thrilled a couple of weeks later when he was invited by his local club to see day 2 of the Ashes test at Edgbaston.  I wasn’t lucky enough to be able to go with him, but thanks to this brilliant audioboo – a useful tool for broadcasting short conversations with star players and young hopefuls alike – I got to hear how much he was enjoying the day long before he arrived home (mine’s the one who likes Stuart Broad because they are both tall!).


The final highlight for the boys was being asked to be flag bearers for the Warwickshire T20 quarter final, again at Edbgaston, and slightly nervously the day we were flying back from our holidays in France.   My initial tweet was favourited by Warwickshire player Ateeq Javid and retweeted by the club and their T20 account.  

An interaction that wouldn’t have been possible through any other channel, and made us feel like we were already part of the day despite being sat in an airport in a different country.

Following the game the boys were lucky enough to meet Ian Bell.

Ian Bell

Along with the traditional photos and autographs, we’ve also got a favourite on Twitter from Ian Bell’s account. His is a nice example of a player who doesn’t just use his social media accounts for promotional purposes but uses them like a normal person and interacts with friends, team mates, and fans alike. As a Birmingham City fan there’s bit too much Aston Villa content for my liking this week, but no-one’s perfect!

We’ve had a wonderful summer of cricket, and are very lucky to have some fantastic memories as well as digital records of all that we’ve been up to.

My lovely little cricketers in grandma's home knits

My lovely little cricketers in grandma’s home knits

10 things I learned from Facebook for Business

Facebook occasionally put on events to offer insights into their latest updates and developments, with a few interesting glimpses at what they are planning next. Although partly motivated by their desire to increase their revenue, nonetheless I spent a fascinating morning learning more about the latest News Feed changes and advertising options:

  1. Competition is growing for News Feed placement – at any one time there could be 200 updates in there from friends, family, groups and organisations
  2. Therefore organic reach for business is dropping rapidly and eventually is likely to be zero – Facebook are unapologetic about this, your content has to be brilliant to bump updates from friends and family or you have to pay
  3. If it’s not mobile friendly, don’t bother. 20 million out of the 25 million UK FB users on today view on a mobile, this number is getting bigger all the time
  4. The future of the news feed is ‘sight, sound, and motion’, video is becoming increasingly important
  5. Facebook offers the most sophisticated targeting platform for advertising, with a range of tailored options and the ability to select an audience by demographics, interests, behaviours, and even by device used to view.
  6. Facebook advertising works on an auction system so the cost of reaching a particular audience varies, young males are more expensive during big sporting events
  7. In general new mums are the most expensive people to advertise to because there is a lot of competition to reach them
  8. New features are being added all the time, the latest, Local Awareness advertising, allows you to reach customers within as little as a one mile radius of your business
  9. Messaging for pages is becoming more important as a customer service channel
  10. Instagram advertising is coming in September

If you’d like to know more about how Facebook advertising could help your business please get in touch.