Cotton Court Business Centre

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Pitching secrets to be revealed at upcoming event

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Budding and established entrepreneurs from across Lancashire are invited to learn about creating the perfect pitch.

NatWest will be holding a pitching-based taster session for its Pre-Accelerator programme at Cotton Court Business Centre, Preston. The session will coincide with the Cotton Court Start-Up Competition which sees entrepreneurs from across the Red Rose County pitching for a chance to win everything they need to start, build and expand their business.

Heather Waters, Enterprise Manager at NatWest, said: “During our Pre-Accelerator taster session, we will teach participants our award-winning pitch structure which enables entrepreneurs to confidently and effectively present their business in any given situation. Pitching is absolutely vital for skill any new business and having the confidence to deliver a good pitch can make or break a business opportunity.”

Robert Binns, Director of Cotton Court Business Centre, said: “Being able to shout about your business and tell your story is invaluable to any business person and this course will give people the opportunity to learn first hand how to accomplish this.”

Later this summer NatWest will be bringing its full Pre-Accelerator workshop to Cotton Court. The session is designed for early-stage businesses looking at ways to grow and enhance their business ideas. The programme is part of NatWest’s three-stage business accelerator scheme which is delivered across the UK.

The pitching event is on Tuesday, May 6 at the Cotton Court Business Centre from 10am to 11.30am. To register visit:

UK Media and Events have got the X-Factor!!

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UK Media & Events produced Grace Davies (X Factor finalist) homecoming show at Cathedral Square, Blackburn last Wednesday (29th November). This is what they had to say about the event:

“We were contacted by ITV 48 hours prior to the event happening and in that time organised every production element, arranged all infrastructure and delivered a seamless and successful event.

In the 48 hours, we coordinated and implemented all arrangements for the staging, sound, lighting, LED screen, full crew, live cameras and operators, security barriers and fencing, medical and full ground

protection (covering all grassed areas).

Thousands of people attended (4-5k) and the support for Grace was outstanding.

We pride ourselves on our adaptability and flexibility, and this successful event is the proof in the pudding!”

Great achievement by our clients…..keep up the good work!

They Did It!! Vibe Tickets Made It Through To The Semi Finals

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Well the results are in, and we are SO pleased to announce the news that Vibe Tickets made it through to the SEMI-FINALS of the Virgin Business #VOOM campaign! They took part in the pitchathon the other week where we were part of a Guiness World Record which took place, and they were so pleased our pitch impressed the judges.


A Guinness World Record was reached after the pitchathon after 28 hours and 51 minutes worth of pitching! Some people were pitching at 2am in the morning, and the valiant judges stayed for the whole duration of it! On the Virgin Business website, this statement was made- “We smashed it. Virgin Media Business now holds the Guinness World Records title for the longest business pitch marathon. And, in the words of adjudicator Pravin, we are ‘officially amazing’”


So for everyone that has supported them, They wanted to thank you for taking the time to vote for Vibe and spreading their message, and they hope for your continue to support in their journey to #PitchToRich!

Vibe Tickets enters #VOOM Pitch To Rich!

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Vibe Tickets has entered the #VOOM Pitch To Rich competition this year, to be in with a chance to pitch their idea to Richard Branson, and win £50,000 to go towards improving the product, £250,000 for a marketing budget which will hugely help with Vibe’s efforts in continuing the #OutTheTout campaign and connecting more fans worldwide.

The Pitch To Rich competition gives Vibe a great platform to shout about the work they’ve been doing so far, and allows more fans to learn about the services Vibe Tickets can offer them. The exposure and support from Virgin Business could provide Vibe with a bigger audience to help and build the community- the more people using Vibe, the less people have to use secondary ticket sites that rip them off, and charge hugely inflated prices.

They are currently at position 10 in the rankings! They have had great support so far from fans, but they need to keep sharing and voting till they are at Number 1!! If you want to #VoteForVibe, and help them help more fans around the world then please vote here and share with them on social media!!



Twitter hours are scheduled events that allow you to contribute and interact with others by adding a # hashtag to your tweet. They are typically held at a specific date and time and are a great way of promoting your business and services through social interaction. You should be polite and helpful and try and add value to the group. For example, a financial advisor may share money saving advice, etc. This way you are building relationships, trust, and gaining exposure for your brand.

Below is a list a selection of UK Twitter hours. If we’ve missed a good one let us know and we will update the list. Get involved and promote your business through a networking hour.


12-1pm #UKBizLunch
1-2pm #1pmlunch
2-3pm #BizHour
2-3pm #SouthWestHour
3-4pm #B2BHour
3-4pm #NorthWestHour
7-8pm #CumbriaHour
7-8pm #LeylandHour
8-9pm #BlackburnHours
8-9pm #BrandYorkshire
8-9pm #CheshireHour
8-9pm #CreativeBizHour
8-9pm #Didsburyhour
8-9pm #Enterprisehour
8-9pm #HarrogateHour
8-9pm #LincsHour
8-9pm #NorthEastHour
8-9pm #OurYorkshire
8-9pm #PrestonHour
8-9pm #StockportHour
8-9pm #YorkHour
9-10pm #OldhamHour


12-1pm #GlasgowBizHour
12-1pm #UKBizLunch
1-2pm #1pmLunch
2-3pm #BizHour
2-3pm #NorthEastHour
3-4pm #B2BHour
4-5pm #ColchesterHour
7-8pm #SMEhourUK
8-9pm #ChesterHour
8-9pm #ChorleysHour
8-9pm #MerseyBiz
8.30-9.30pm #KentHour
8.30-9.30pm #SouthEastHour
9-10pm #SmallBizHour


12-1pm #UKBizLunch
1-2pm #1pmLunch
1-2pm #BuyYorkshire
1-2pm #LocalLunch
2-3pm #BizHour
2-3pm #NewcastleHour
2-3pm #TeesTime
2-3pm #EssexHour
3-4pm #B2BHour
7.30-8.30pm #CornwallHour
8-9pm #CardiffHour
8-9pm #DevonHour
8-9pm #EastMidlandsHour
8-9pm #MidlandsHour
8-9pm #NorthWestHour
8-9pm #ShropshireHour
8-9pm #StaffordshireHour
8-9pm #StaffordshireHour
8-9pm #YorkshireHour
9-10pm #ScotlandHour


12-1pm #UKBizLunch
1-2pm #1pmLunch
2-3pm #BizHour
3-4pm #B2BHour
8-9pm #BarnsleyHour
8-9pm #BlackpoolHour
8-9pm #BradfordHour
8-9pm #ChesterfieldHour
8-9pm #DerbyshireHour
8-9pm #ExeterHour
8-9pm #HalifaxHour
8-9pm #HuddersfieldHour
8-9pm #HullHour
8-9pm #LancashireHour
8-9pm #LeedsHour
8-9pm #LiverpoolHour
8-9pm #LondonHour
8-9pm #ManchesterHour
8-9pm #NorthantsHour
8-9pm #SheffieldHour
8-9pm #SomersetHour
8-9pm #SouthWestHour
8-9pm #SunderlandHour
8-9pm #UKStartUpHour
8-9pm #WakefieldHour
8-9pm #WarringtonHour
8.30-9.30pm #SussexHour
9-10pm #BNIHour


10-11am #ClevelandHour
10-11am #ConnectFriday
10-11am #NWHour
11am -12pm #LondonHour
11am -12pm #YorkBizHour
11am-12pm #NewcastleHour
12-1pm #UKBizLunch
1-2pm #1pmLunch
2-3pm #BizHour
3-4pm #B2BHour
4-5pm #GBHour
9-10pm #NorthWestHour


8-9.15am #SatChatUK
11am-12pm #WeekendHour


11am-12pm #WeekendHour
6-7pm #HartlepoolHour
8-9pm #WalesHour
9-10pm #EnglandHour

Social Media trends to watch out for in 2016

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Social media is nothing new. It’s become the norm, and as a brand, SME and charity you should have an active presence. Facebook – the largest social media platform – was created back in 2004. Whilst extremely successful, its fate is perhaps telling of what is to come for other social sites in the future: a decline of younger users as the older generation become more active –25.3% of all Facebook users are over 45, equating to 39.6 million people.WBWKY1FQ2I

The use of social media has far progressed beyond the days of posting moody selfies and song lyric status updates on MySpace. Also Facebook, Twitter and Instagram are no longer the only social media sites on the scene. With new platforms constantly launching, current ones need to continuously up their game to ensure they stay relevant and fresh.

Everything will be ‘in-the-moment’

The long-running achievement of Snapchat and all the more as of late Periscope has slung live content into fame, and this pattern sees no indication of slowing down in 2016.

To battle back with their biggest opponent Facebook has released their own live video function. Currently being trialled by a small section of users. They have the option to share what they’re seeing in real time through a status update. During the broadcast, users can see the number of live viewers, the names of their friends watching and a stream of comments. The added benefit of Facebook Live is that the videos are saved to the user’s timeline and available to watch again. Where Periscope the videos vanish after 24 hours. As over 53% of Facebook video views are through sharing, this allows for optimum engagement!

Users are also able to subscribe to friend or public figureslive recordings through the news feed. Receiving a notification when they’re about to post something live.

Whilst it hasn’t been disclosed a date when this will roll out to everyone, Facebook are looking for honest feedback from the current users. If users like this feature, then this year could see it being rolled out to a wider audience, with brands able to post live videos that can be watched over and over again by their target market.

Snapchat will continue to work with brands

It’s no secret that Snapchat – if used correctly – is an awesome approach to take advantage of the younger market. 71% of the channel’s 200 million monthly active followers are under 25. Realising this, Snapchat launched Discover in January 2015, was made available to a select 12 companies including the likes of Cosmo and CNN. Enabling these brands can post content on their own, easily-accessible channels.

Whilst Discover is highly selective, its started to open up: three new brands were given their own channel. The ever struggling Yahoo were kicked off as its news videos failed to resonate with the younger audience.

Additionally taking after the release of ‘Spectre’ in October, Sony Pictures were featured on Snapchat Discover for the day, with videos of cast interviews and behind-the-scenes locations all available to view for 24 hours.

Whilst it’s unlikely Discover will open up to the masses any time soon, with 6 billion daily video views on Snapchat, 2016 is the year brands should utilise Snapchat.

Buy Now buttons will become the norm

Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest have empowered  users to purchase items through ‘Buy Now’ buttons for a while. Now, Instagram is the latest to launch a ‘Shop Now’ button, taking users to a mini browser within the app to purchase an item, before going back to Instagram.


This is fantastic news for e-commerce brands small and large, as it provides them with an additional platform to facilitate sales. Instagram is known for its high engagement levels: users engage with brands 58 times more than on Facebook, and 120 times more than on Twitter. The key in 2016 is to ensure that they don’t become too pushy in the pursuit for sales and that they continue to post eye-catching pictures.  Discreetly including a ‘Shop Now’ button.

One thing’s for sure, social media will still be an indispensable part of marketing in 2016. In order to stay ahead of the competition, brands will need to ensure that they are aware of all new features on each social media channel.

18 Practical Twitter Tips for Beginners

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Managing multiple social media platforms is often difficult. However, you can make the process as painless as possible with some quick Twitter tips to accelerate your social media marketing efforts. Why? You know that feeling when you don’t understand what somebody has said, but by the time you gather enough courage to ask them to explain it, too much time has passed? Some budding social media marketers can relate to this feeling when they are looking for tips for their social media marketing efforts.

While it’s so easy to gain a big picture understanding of platforms, including the ability to use them for your professional and personal needs, sometimes you’ve missed some crucial basics that can mean the difference between good and great engagement and reach.

We want to help you master Twitter marketing starting with some basic definitions and Twitter tips for beginners. To make this as easy as possible, we’ve rounded up a guide with 18 practical Twitter tips that will take your tweet status from offbeat to retweet.

Twitter marketing definitions

Before getting into the guide, it’s a good idea to set a foundation with some basic definitions for those of us who were wondering what all these terms meant, but were too afraid to ask. This “Social Media Glossary” provides a huge directory of definitions as well, but the main ones to know for your Twitter vocabulary include the following:

Tweet: A Twitter message. Tweets can contain up to 140 characters of text, as well as photos, videos, and other forms of media. They are public by default and will show up in Twitter timelines and searches unless they are sent from Protected Accounts or as Direct Messages. Tweets can also be embedded in webpages.

Retweet: A Tweet that is re-shared to the followers of another user’s Twitter account. There are two kinds of Retweets: the classic “manual” Retweet and the now-standard “web Retweet.” In a manual Retweet, you simply type “RT” before the @username and content of somebody else’s Tweet. This used to be the only way you could retweet, and it’s the still only way to add your own comment to a Tweet when you pass it along.

A “web Retweet” is what happens when you click the official Retweet button: the full Tweet appears in your timeline in its original form, complete with the author’s name and avatar. Since a web Retweet allows your followers to easily retweet or favourite the original Tweet, it’s generally considered good etiquette to use this method unless you have something valuable to add through a manual RT.

Feed: The main place where the steady stream of updates and information from other users is presented to you. On Twitter, your Twitter feed shows updates posted and shared by those you follow.

Handle: Handle is another way of saying your account name. Our Twitter handle is @CottonCourt and Twitter’s is @Twitter, for example. It’s important that you try and maintain consistent handles on all of your social network profiles, since people who follow you on Twitter might want to find you on Instagram or Pinterest. A consistent handle helps with discoverability.

Mention: The act of tagging another user’s handle or account name in a social media message. Mentions typically trigger a notification for that user and are a key part of what makes social media “social.” When properly formatted (for example, as an @mention on Twitter or +mention on Google+), a mention also allows your audience to click through to the mentioned user’s bio or profile.

Direct Message: A direct message (DM) is a private Twitter message sent to one of your followers. Direct messages can only be sent to a Twitter user who is already following you, and you can only receive direct messages from users you follow.



Hashtag: The hashtag is a word or phrase preceded by the “#” sign. Hashtags are a simple way to mark the topic (or topics) of social media messages and make them discoverable to people with shared interests. On most social networks, clicking a hashtag will reveal all the public and recently published messages that also contain that hashtag. Hashtags first emerged on Twitter as a user-created phenomenon and are now used on almost every other social media platform, including Facebook, Google+, Instagram, Vine and Pinterest.

Quote Tweet: A way to retweet where a user can include their own comments along with the tweet.

Twitter Tips for Marketers


Now that you know the core definitions needed to navigate Twitter for marketing, we offer the following list of top Twitter marketing tips to help you get the most out of the social media platform.


1. Use keywords

In order to attract a specific audience, include discoverable keywords, with links to highly valuable content, in your Tweets. As explained here, “keyword targeting allows you to connect with users based on words and phrases they’ve recently Tweeted or searched for on Twitter,” which allows you to connect with your audience at the most relevant level.

2. Target influencers

It’s a smart idea to follow companies, influencers and like-minded individuals that you plan to engage with in the future on Twitter. As we explain here, when trying to find and connect with influencers, “the three attributes that are most important for marketers to  factor are relevance, reach, and resonance.”

3. Use hashtags

Hashtags are a no-brainer as they ensure that your content is as discoverable as possible, and enable you to connect with like-minded users. For help with hashtag best practices, Here’s a link to a great guide here.

4. Give credit

If you see content that adds value, give credit where it is due. You know how great it feels when somebody else gives your content credit? Share the love. Favourite, quote, and retweet Tweets that you find helpful to gain potential followers and build online relationships.

5. Utilise scheduling

To save time, as well as enhance organisation, it’s a good idea to schedule tweets. By planning for Tweets to go out at peak times, you can ensure you are improving visibility. There are many different ways and approaches to scheduling tweets.

6. Encourage engagement

You’ve heard it time and time again–engagement is key to social media success. While of course connecting with mutual followers is important, to build credibility and audience we recommend engaging with your non followers as well. If you want to learn how to attract and engage more Twitter followers, follow hootsuite’s guide here will help you do just that.

7. Create lists

To get the most of your Twitter feed and keep organised, we recommend setting up Twitter lists to create groups with relevant users and organisations. As a guide to Twitter lists explains, “lists offer a way to see updates from specific people you have decided to focus your attention on,” and in doing so, allowing you to be more engaged and up to date on those who add the most value to your online efforts.

8. Optimize your profile

Your Twitter profile is where other users get their first impressions of you, so it’s important that you take advantage of this part of your online presence. Ensure your Twitter profile has a tasteful image that’s consistent with what you are using on other social networks, an accurate description in your bio, and a header image. Your twitter profile is the most important landing page for your brand,” so you want to make sure it’s helping, not hurting, your efforts.

9. Use images

It’s a fact that Tweets including images receive more engagement, which is reason enough to make sharing images and videos on Twitter a priority. Tweets with images generate 313 percent more engagement than those without.

10. Be consistent

Whenever I’m looking to clean-up my Twitter feed and unfollow users, I always seek out accounts that haven’t posted in awhile. Whether running a personal or professional account, commitment to posting is an important factor in ensuring you continuously add value to your followers. Experiment with posting more than that, and then pay attention to how your followers react to find the frequency that works best for you.

11. Exercise portion control

While one of the biggest challenges of Twitter can be fitting your message into the designated 140 characters, try your best not to use all of these just because they are available. As engagement should be one of your top priorities with your social media strategy, you definitely want to leave room for mentions and comments through retweets so that your content can easily and painlessly be shared.

12. Toot your own horn

If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it. This advice also rings true for your highest performing Tweets. If you notice a Tweet of yours that continuously gets shared and sees engagement, keep promoting it. It’s also completely justified to pin Tweets to the top of your feed to bring more attention to the top-performers and further increase engagement potential.

13. Focus on quality over quantity

As with most things in life, when it comes to your Twitter strategy you should place more importance on quality over quantity. While it is, of course, tempting to focus on your number of followers, ignore this number and instead dedicate time to building quality relationships with other users of relevance.

14. Monitor closely

Social listening is an incredibly valuable asset to building and growing your Twitter strategy, and using a social media monitoring tool can help you do this as easily as possible. Being able to see what your customers and potential clients are discussing, whether it be directly related to your brand or just generally to your industry, has incredible value in your ability to establish marketing forecasts and initiatives.

15. Have patience

While we all love instant gratification, patience with your social media approach is key. In recognizing that you will not instantly gain thousands of followers, retweets, or favourites overnight, you are able to concentrate on building value through engagement and content, which will help your number of quality followers and interactions flourish organically.

16. Don’t be vain

If you want your Twitter strategy to be successful, it’s important to understand that it can’t all be about you. Not many other users will find value in the content you share if it’s only obviously self-servicing. Make an effort to focus on your audience and share, retweet and mention their content on a regular basis.

17. Keep it short

We’ve all seen those unfortunate tweets where the 140 characters are mostly used up by a lengthy URL. This is a preventable tragedy which can be simply solved by using a URL shortener like that provided in the Hootsuite dashboard. In doing this, you allow for more information to be shared, as well as increase the ability for others to share, retweet, and add their own comments to your content.

18. Initiate conversations

While it’s all well and good to simply favourite a tweet that somebody mentions you in, by taking it that one step further and initiating an actual conversation with that user you are showing a dedication towards engagement that many others neglect.

Even in offering a simple “thank you for sharing!” or asking them what they took away from your post, you are helping open up windows of communication that would otherwise remain closed, thus establishing irreplaceable rapport that will potentially help you in the future.

Vibe Tickets Launch on Android App

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Vibe Tickets have announced the launch of their software for the Android market, the Lancashire based ethical ticket exchange expects their customer base to double within the first 4 weeks.

Vibe Tickets was founded in 2013 by entrepreneur, Luke Massie, who wanted to give real fans the chance to not only buy and sell tickets, but also make new, likeminded friends at the hottest events.

The launch on android follows shortly after the successful launch on Apple, the app already has thousands of users buying and selling live event tickets at face value.


Managing director Luke Massie said the expansion followed a £200,000 investment by technology entrepreneur Matt Newing. Luke said; “Vibe is operating a freemium business model, the service is free to use and the app is free to download. We are accelerating the growth of Vibe’s active user base while continually enhancing and developing the app. Our short term goals are to reach critical mass and enter new markets; the US and Europe. On top of directors capital we have raised £200,000 at a SEED round from Matt Newing and Elite Comms Group and we will be opening a new round of funding in the New Year.

The business model is based on peer to peer communication, growing this with a secure payments platform in the future. Everyone should have fair access to tickets and that is why we are strict about face value sales.

When the time is right Vibe will launch premium features and monetise at that stage, I am aiming forVibe Tickets to become the most disruptive presence in the secondary ticket market.”

Matt’s Newing, investor in Vibe and successful Tech Entrepreneur said;

“I share Luke’s passion about the business and the ticketing industry. Real fans are suffering at the expense of the secondary market, the real issue is that primary market are now buying secondary ticket sites and artificially manipulating the market. Ultimately, the power is in the people’s hands as the business model currently stands, but we are certainly looking to develop this.

Consumers have been crying out for a service like Vibe, I’d encourage everyone to join the cause and permanently change the market for the greater good”

The launch comes at a time when attention on the secondary market and touts has intensified.

Last week POP legend Prince (13/11) declared war on ticket touts by delaying sales of tickets for his forthcoming UK tour. Prince’s official Twitter feed became filled with references to online and secondary ticket websites, where tickets that have been bought can be officially resold.

Prince’s protest came as consumer watchdog Which? released a damning report on secondary ticket websites calling for action to stop them ‘reselling at inflated prices.’

Which? spent eight weeks monitoring four of the biggest secondary ticketing websites and found evidence that consumers were being cheated.

It isn’t illegal to resell tickets for profit, but Which? is concerned that many secondary ticket sites are denying fans the chance of buying tickets at face value and breaching consumer rights legislation.

The Vibe Tickets app which can be found on the following links:

Apple – Vibe Tickets

Android – Vibe Tickets

3ManFactory create video to get brands thinking!

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We first spotted this in the days running up to Lancashire Business View’s Young ‘Uns Awards. Low and behold we didn’t realise the advert lead to this very clever video from the team.

Marketing on Fleek from 3ManFactory on Vimeo.

Need to connect your brand with 18-30s or teens? Want to build brand awareness, get your products or services in front of them, or attract the best and brightest talent?

3ManFactory are experienced in delivering high performance cross-platform marketing strategies and campaigns to engage and excite youth demographics.

Our sectors specialisms include: education, fashion, technology, entertainment and consumer.

So if your brand needs to be in front of Generation Y, Z, Millennials or teens, get your marketing right or rather, on fleek. Get in touch with 3ManFactory today.

We Launch Digital Marketing Training

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Lancashire Digital Academy is offering a new funded training course to eligible businesses in the Lancashire area. The training course is about Digital Marketing Essentials.

On the 22nd May, I attended the first part of the new training course, which was run by Tom Stables from 3ManFactory.

Throughout the first session, I learnt about different ways of marketing on different social media. On the social media subject, I also learnt about social media as lead generation, brand monitoring and intelligence, and case studies to illustrate best practice.

The second part of the training was on the 29th May, in this session, I learnt about finding an audience when digital marketing, analysing current marketing activities and also looking at a digital marketing checklist development.

As well, we also discussed what language is appropriate to be used on Social media. For example, what tone you should be using when speaking to someone on social media.

At the training, the thing that I found useful was when we learnt about using different social media to market and advertise the business. For example, I learnt how to use Flickr, Instagram and Pinterest to advertise Cotton Court’s services.

This training was delivered in one of our conference rooms, here at Cotton Court.