Blog Archives

Why you should be using social media before your competitors

Once upon a time the internet was deemed unnecessary, now it’s literally everywhere! So if your business isn’t using social media yet, why don’t you leap ahead of your competitors and make your mark…?

We’ve been working with businesses on social media for quite some time now and if we could have a pound for every time we have heard a company state “Social media isn’t for business, it can’t do anything for us!”, then we’d all be happily retired and tweeting from a beach in Mauritius. Unfortunately, reality works a little differently and we are still definitely all in Coventry. However, we have compiled a list of reasons as to why you need to be ahead of your competitors in the social media marathon.

1. Lead the conversations

If you get in there before your competitors then you can lead the conversational topics around things relevant to your business. For example if you are using Twitter then you can demonstrate your expertise through various hashtags regularly and businesses will begin to recognise you as a leader in your field.

2. You’re seen as forward thinking

Take yourself back to school. There was always a kid who was first to have the new trainers, or listened to a certain band before they were played on the radio. He was always deemed the ‘coolest kid in the school’ because he was setting a trend that others wanted to follow. Similarly, becoming competent with your social media repertoire before competitors will give your business a ‘cool factor’ and place you ahead of others as a forward thinking business.

3. Engage with customers

A massive 61% of UK adults were reported to be using social media in 2011, and this will have increased since then. Regardless of whether they operate personal or business accounts, that is a large sector of the population. You only have to see the huge increase of users each year to understand that it will not be long before it is saturated. Among all these users lie your customers – so why wouldn’t you want to be there too?

4. Be seen for free!

Social media accounts cost nothing to set up, however they have room to include all your branding and company news. It only makes sense to be visible in the social media spectrum.  It’s also one of the most cost effective marketing tools for raising the profile of your brand.

How has it helped some of our clients??

The Good Garage Scheme

Manchetts Garage based in Cambridge and Newmarket was already aware of the Good Garage Scheme but was unsure of the member benefits. The independent garage already had its own Twitter account, from which it regularly tweeted special offers and blog posts.  Upon seeing a number of consistently informative tweets from the Good Garage Scheme, Manchetts sent a direct message over the network to enquire about becoming a member.

Titanic Heritage Trust

The Titanic Heritage Trust has been part of an exhibition in Smethwick this year as part of the centenary to commemorate the sinking of the famous liner. We have been helping them with their social media, and they have had a number of visitors to the exhibition who became aware of it through its Twitter page.

Netmetix

In April one of our clients, which is an IT solutions provider, ran a seminar on cloud computing. This was publicised through Twitter and many of the attendees were able to sign up straight through the link in one of the tweets.

 

How you can get started in social media marketing

Bridge has been asked by Coventry & Warwickshire Chamber to run a FREE half day workshop on 3rd September to be held at the Quality Hotel, just off the A45.  This will give you all you need to get started on social media for your business.  More details coming soon, so keep an eye on this blog and our website.

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Should you be Pinterested in the next big social network?

Still questioning Quora? Found that Google Plus has turned out to be a negative? Then you are probably uninterested in Pinterest – the very latest in a long line of social networks that experts are citing as the next best thing. However, unlike the others, Pinterest actually has taken off and was one of the fastest networks to reach 10 million users a month. When it comes to sharing content and meeting people with similar interests to yours, Pinterest is perhaps the most useful social network of them all so why should you join in with the buzz?

Firstly, let’s myth bust; Pinterest is not a new social network. It has been around for several years but only recently has found itself blossoming in popularity. Unlike similar hyped up networks like Quora, Pinterest’s early adopters were not typical internet geeks but in fact, average everyday women with mainstream interests, opening up the passageway for a wide ranging audience of users. There is no intimidation factor here; no importance laid upon keeping up with the most influential users. In fact, unlike most social networks it runs at your own pace and can be about anything you want it to be about.

Bridge Pinterest

Your Pinterest boards can be about anything you want - we even have one for Bridgit!

The idea of Pinterest is that you share ideas online by pinning images from the web to virtual pin boards. Users then have the choice to follow a particular pin board or repin something of interest to their own pinboard – much like Twitter’s retweet facility.

Upon first visiting the website, the first thing to note is its appearance and usability. It’s very easy on the eye and very simple to use. Much of the content on the social network is about products; furniture, books, clothes and household items and it can at times seem like a large online shopping store – the female influence coming across heavily. However, leaf through the typical domestic boards, the wish lists and the clutter and there are some very interesting boards. Boards on social media, infographics, images of old newsrooms and even one board looking at hot businesses of the month. It is easy to see why Pinterest is attractive to advertisers – this is a place that they can promote themselves, with links back to their own website without ramming advertisements down a user’s throat.

In terms of content marketing, Pinterest could well become the most useful and important social network of them all. Of course, a lot depends on the user and that is the beauty of Pinterest – it can be about absolutely anything you want so as long as people share interesting content it will always have a purpose. However, unless you are specific, your individual boards may well become lost in translation. Millions of users will be following pinboards about marketing so make yours niche. Title it content marketing, digital marketing or b2b marketing and allow it to stand out from the crowd.

Make sure you are repining interesting content to your own pinboards and sharing it with your own network of followers. As with any social network, following the right people can bring new content to your attention which you can then, in turn share with other creating a chain of content marketing practitioners. 

As a business you need to curate your content properly and organise it into different areas of your business. If you are a retailer, just as you organise shop shelves, you need all your products categorised and displayed together. If IT is your industry, sub categorise the genre into different factions; network systems, new innovations, mobile devices and web devices. The key is to make your content unique, niche and interesting enough for others to repin and share.

Above all else, have fun. Pinterest is unlike any other social networks in that there is no pressure to be seen as an industry leader. It moves along at its own pace and can be personalised to suit your needs. As well as serving as a platform for content marketing, Pinterest can also be your own personal pin board of interests, products you want to look at further and links or diagrams of particular interest.

Pinterest is unfortunate in that it has been tipped for success by the experts and predicted as the hot new social network of 2012. However, unlike fellow victims to this hype like Quora and Google Plus, Pinterest is causing enough of a stir to actually live up to its expectations. The interface is simple, the idea effective and the reasons for using it plentiful. In fact, Pinterest could just be the most (P)interesting thing to happen to content marketing.

Follow Us on Pinterest

Social Media Reflection

Where is social media taking business?

2011 has been an exciting year for us all at Bridge PR, with social media making a prominent presence in all of our clients’ marketing strategies, and we have seen some fantastic results because of it.

These statistics of the 3 main social media outlets illustrate the rapid growth in popularity:

  2010 2011
Facebook 500 million 750 million
Twitter Number of monthly users is up by 82% since the start of the year
LinkedIn 85 million 135 million

The business uptake of social media accounts has massively increased over the past year and the pace looks set to continue unabated. As we expected, Twitter has been the most talked about social network of the year, beating the largest network Facebook which only came fourth.

These days, businesses are questioning just how they coped without social media. Gone are the days when sending an email to a client was a novelty! Costly adverts in the local paper, sending out direct mail or purchasing expensive billboards used to be the only ways to promote business to mass audiences. However, today all it takes is 140 characters – one Tweet or one slightly longer Facebook update and you can reach no end of potential customers – FOR FREE!

According to Mediabistro, 50% of small business owners reported gaining new customers through social media indicating that it is creating leads for companies. As larger cities like London, Manchester and Birmingham continue to dominate social media usage in the UK, Bridge PR has been helping put Coventry on the social media map by getting our clients online and engaging with customers and industry leaders.

At Bridge, we have helped drive the social media presence of the Good Garage Scheme, and from a standing start they are now one of the biggest influencers in the UK social media scene for the automotive sector.  In the IT sector, our social media marketing activity for Netmetix is getting the company noticed in what is typically a noisy and competitive sector online, and we have been helping Advanced Carbon Energy Solutions (ACES) with setting up all their social media profiles ready for a relaunch of the company in 2012 (watch this space because ACES is going to be a great one to follow next year).  We have also trained and mentored quite a few Midlands SMEs on how to get the most from their social media marketing, and they are now starting to reap the rewards   Our own campaign using a red-eyed tree frog as a mascot also attracted a great deal of interest, and Bridgit, as she was later named is a favourite with our social media audiences.  Whilst other PR firms in the city continue to offer traditional mediums of PR, we have embraced new media and helped propel our clients into the 21st century.

So what’s in store for 2012?

The trend for 2012 seems to be that the market is wide open for a new social network that will offer competition to the big three.

Google Plus is seen as the network with the most potential to mount a challenge to the likes of Facebook and Twitter and as Google’s domination of the world wide web continues, the likelihood is that businesses will be able to take advantage of direct tagging, analytics, advertisements and SEO rankings within Google.

Facebook Upon their recent purchase of Gowalla and integrated timeline renovation, 2012 is all set to be Facebook’s year of dominance as it continues to be the most used social network for business and pleasure.

Ownership As arguments continue over who owns photographs shared on social media websites; the issue of ownership itself is likely to once again come into the spotlight. How far away from plagiarism is a Retweet on Twitter and how many times should you be able to edit and share content? What’s more, how much should social networking websites reflect your business’ point of view rather than your own and how deeply should we read into the concept of sharing content?

Social media has become one of the most popular and effective free forms of promotion that takes out the hassle and hours of traditional forms of PR. All you need is a push in the right direction and you are ready to allow your content to drive your social media strategy and move your business forward in 2012.

We would really like to help put Coventry and Warwickshire on the social media map in 2012 as well as helping businesses up and down the UK to make the most of this great channel for marketing.  To find out how we can help your business raise its profile with social media contact Denise, Louise or Natalie on 024 7652 0025 or email us at enquiries@bridgepr.co.uk