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Bridgit Campaign sees Kermittment from famous ‘Muppets’ frog

Bridgit here, with a quick update on my Bridges campaign…..

As celebrity endorsements go, you can’t get much bigger or better than Kermit the Frog – the latest figure to support my Bridges campaign. A long time friend and supporter of mine, Kermit is in the middle of a worldwide trip but in the midst of it all, he still found time to take some images of himself in front of various bridges. Take a look at the Pinterest page – Kermit is on bridges in Sydney, Amsterdam and London.

Kermit is not the only interesting character to take part in the campaign. Miles Better, the brand new face of the Good Garage Scheme has also got involved. He sent us a picture over Twitter and has been helping support the campaign since.

It was Coventry Society who started the trend.  Once I had jetted off round the world’s bridges and the Bridge directors had ventured out onto their nearest bridge, Coventry Society was the first organisation to add a bridge image to our Pinterest board. Their representative Adam Mottershead sent us an image of himself on a well known Coventry bridge.

We have even got mum’s in on the act. Our Account Executive, Natalie’s mum sent us a posy image of her on a bridge in Tenerife to help us build momentum on our campaign. We now have a total of 16 bridge images on our Pin board and that is only the start. Still to come are images from national ERP providers K3 Syspro who have promised us an image of their marketing team on a bridge near Old Trafford once the weather holds out – and Tamworth’s premier community radio station TCRFM, who will get their presenters out on bridges for our campaign. Expect those images to be added to our board as soon as they are ready.

It’s a whole load of fun but there is a serious side to my Bridge campaign. We are, of course raising money for the charity FrogLife, who very kindly featured our campaign on their latest blog post.  Froglife is a national wildlife charity dedicated to the conservation of the UK’s amphibians and reptiles – frogs, toads, newts, snakes and lizards – and the habitats on which they depend. Naturally, they are helping to keep me and my relatives safe in dangerous times to be a frog. It’s simple – the more bridge pictures that are pinned to our board, the more money gets donated to look after my family and friends.

So, what are you waiting for? If you are already on Pinterest, follow my board and we will invite you to share it and take part in our campaign. If you are not on Pinterest don’t fear, share an image with us over email, Twitter or Facebook and we will Pin it for you! Go, on, hop on the Bridgit campaign!

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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.

What is your social media worth?

We all know that social media is growing at a rapid rate. Facebook values Instagram at $1 billion and according to a recent report by Forbes, LinkedIn is worth $10 billion and Pinterest £7.7 billion. There’s no doubt that social networking is an industry where money can be made but what about those businesses actually using it themselves? Social media is essentially a free marketing resource but it could cost your business hundreds and thousands of pounds if you make just one careless error whilst using it.

Cost of social media

There are stories all over the press daily about people whose tweets or Facebook statuses have landed them in trouble. What about Liam Stacey who recently tweeted racially abusive messages about footballer Fabrice Muamba after he collapsed on a pitch? He received a 56 day jail sentence. Or Jordan Blackshaw who was jailed for four years after creating a Facebook event page for the London riots? That’s not to mention  Paul Chambers who was fined after tweeting a joke about blowing up Robin Hood Airport or Peter Copeland who received a four month suspended jail sentence after posting racially abusive messages on Twitter aimed at Newcastle United fans.

These are all personal instances where carelessness on social networking sites have led to criminal prosecutions, but just as there is a risk using social networking carelessly for personal accounts, the same applies to business. Remember, what is put on the internet stays on the internet. Even long after you have deleted a tweet or Facebook status, it can still be found on the Internet through various sources and remembered. Once something is posted on the web, it stays there in one form, forever.

What should I do?

There is plenty you should do when using social media. Engage with your customers, promote your products (but not constantly – there’s nothing worse than constant self promoters on Twitter!), engage with other businesses and enjoy making new friends – but remember to always think about what you are posting. Who can see it? It is libellous? Could it be taken the wrong way and ultimately should I really publish it?

Social media policy

Introducing a strict social media policy will ensure that members of your business are not sending out tweets that could be interpreted negatively. Set aside and pinpoint the areas of Twitter or Facebook you could eradicate without affecting your business. For example, a celebrity expects abuse on Twitter but that doesn’t mean your business should be seen handing it out. Yes, your team’s star striker may have missed a sitter last night but you don’t want your customers to see you calling them useless over Twitter do you? Keep the personal tweets; sarcastic or otherwise, to your personal account and don’t let them be associated with your business in anyway.

Got your staff tweeting on their own personal accounts? Get them to put a small disclaimer in their biographies stating that their views are their own and not that of the company’s, just to ensure you are disassociated with anything that could potentially spell outrage.

Decide on the kind of people that you should be engaging with and keep it friendly. By following all the local hashtags – #coventrybusiness, #followbigbear and #followcoventry for Coventry – you can meet local business and make new contacts. When someone leaves your business – that is the time to change all your social media passwords to protect against potential hacks. Most importantly though, think before you publish anything online and make 100% sure that nobody can be offended by what you have written.

Keep it fun

We don’t want to ruin your social media activity by throwing in too many rules. After all, social media is and should be a fun and constructive activity, but as soon as carelessness creeps into your social media usage, so too do business risks and compromises. A policy will keep you thinking about your own social media usage and ensure that your personal thoughts never reflect upon your business. Of course, there is room for sarcasm and jokes – social networks would be boring without them but the old rule ‘if you have nothing nice to say, say nothing at all’ certainly has a big place within social media.

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

Harness the power of social networking with LinkedIn

There are now over 120 million professionals all over the world using LinkedIn to help grow their business by harnessing the power of online social networking.

Make the LEAP

Originally, LinkedIn was created as a recruitment resource, but has evolved as a major player in business networking and helps businesses in a number of ways…

  • Generating leads
  • Finding suppliers
  • Finding new employees / headhunting
  • Gathering market intelligence
  • Finding answers to questions
  • Staying on track with industry trends
  • Raising awareness of your business, products, services and much more…

 

LinkedIn gives the ability to broaden your networks and connect with people you might never have had the opportunity to link with previously. Since the Internet really took off in the 90s, people have been able to maintain contact with each other far more easily, and it was only a matter of time before people began to make business contacts with the same principle.

Everyone at Bridge has been using LinkedIn for some time now and between us we have acquired a lot of knowledge and expertise about how to get the most from it.

Here are our top tips…

Create a company profile that grabs attention Using the company profile facility means that you have another marketing channel where you can showcase your business and its products and services.  Everyone who connects with you will be able to see what your company offers.  The beauty of business social networking is that it taps into one of the key marketing principles that “people buy from people they know and trust.”

Make your profile 100% complete LinkedIn monitors how complete your profile is on a percentage scale based on work history, education, skills, connections, and recommendations. You should aim to be 100% complete as this optimises all of the functions available.  The aim is to raise the profile of your expertise in your particular industry sector.

Constantly leverage your contacts LinkedIn is very much based around the maxim of ‘it’s not what you know, it’s who you know”, and the connections you make are integral to your business development. There is a ‘degree’ gauge built into the site, where you will be shown how many degrees apart you are from any one contact. For example 1st degree means you know them personally whereas 2nd degree is you know someone who knows them and 3rd degree means they’re a friend of a friend… and so on. This is built on the old adage that everyone is connected by six degrees of separation.

Join relevant groups Another important part of LinkedIn is the ‘group’ section. Arguably one of the most powerful aspects of the networking site, groups allow you to engage with like-minded people in discussions relevant to your aims as a business and your sector as a whole. It can also be a mine of information about your industry, and will help you to keep up with the latest trends. It is a good idea to create your own group as this helps to drive traffic to your site and encourages more people to connect with you as the ‘community leader’.

Become a ‘LinkedIn expert’ Exploit the facility of offering expert advice on LinkedIn as this can help build your profile as an expert in your field, and adds an element of reality to the profile, giving connections reassurance about your business. Regularly check the ‘Questions’ section for subjects relating to your field, and when the person who posted the questions brands you as the best answer you gain a badge on your profile. The more badges you gain then the higher your level of expertise.

Get valuable recommendations These add a level of credibility to your profile or company. The more recommendations you have on your profile, the more people are likely to trust it. However, it is important to gain ‘valuable’ recommendations such as clients and customers who have been involved with your company or have used your services of products.

 

If you would like to become completely ‘social media savvy’ in order to boost your business, then Bridge PR & Media Services are running a series of Social Media Workshops which will teach you the principles of social media marketing, how to use the tools and platforms, and how to measure your success.

Make the LEAP into Social Media – 27th September 2011

Measuring Success – 04 October 2011

Making a Blogging Influence – 11 October 2011

LinkedIn for Business Success – 18 October 2011

Twitter for Business Success – 01 November 2011

Facebook for Business Success – 08 November 2011

 

For further inquiries all you need to do it contact Bridge on 024 76 520025 or email info@bridgepr.co.uk

 

Make the LEAP – Social Media Communications for Business Success

Time is running out to book onto our social media masterclasses.

 

Bridge PR & Media Services Ltd

If you feel that your company has something to shout about but don’t know where to start, or would like to take it that step further then email Bridgit@bridgepr.co.uk for a booking form!