Cotton Court Business Centre

Social Media

LinkedIn’s 10th anniversary – Imagine What We Can Do.

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Its LinkedIn’s 10th anniversary this week, rather than looking backwards. They asked some of our members what they aspire to accomplish in the future. Their answers reminded us how much power this community of 225 million has to change the world.

It’s a great reminder in this video that we should always be building towards our aspirations

We at Cotton Court use LinkedIn a great deal to build on existing customer relationships and to develop new relationships. You can connect with the whole team below:








Our company page:

Struggling To Leverage Social Media For Your Business?

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Struggling To Leverage Social Media For Your Business? Social Media can be a powerful tool for growing your business, but it can be a bit overwhelming. What platforms should you have a presence on? What must you say to engage and convert prospects? How often do you have to post updates? Should you outsource management of your social media accounts? These are all questions that business owners grapple with as they try to use Social Media to their advantage. Below are some considerations that you may find useful to help you decide where to establish a social media presence for your business and 3 tips on how to manage that presence without getting overwhelmed.

What Social Networking Platform(s) Should I Use? | Using Social Media for Your Business

Unfortunately, there is no “silver-bullet” answer to this question. There are many social networking platforms that are used for various purposes and attract different types of users. For example, Twitter is a great micro-blogging platform for short encounters that can be useful in sharing brief updates, announcing service outages/restorations to customers, or referring customers/partners to detailed information on a given topic. Facebook on the other hand is great for extended interaction with stakeholders as it supports longer posts, conversational interactions, and a more immersive experience. Thus, the answer to this question will depend on several factors:

  • The type of business you have
  • The stakeholders you’re trying to reach/engage (e.g. prospects, customers, partners, employees, etc.)
  • The social networking platforms those stakeholders use
  • The activities you want those stakeholders to perform (e.g. read your content, share your content w/ their friends, endorse your business, participate in a contest/promotion, make a purchase, be a brand advocate, etc.)

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Your answers to the above will influence the makeup of the social media strategy and campaign you’ll need to achieve your business goal. Your business goal may require you to establish a presence on a single social networking platform or it could require you to establish a presence on multiple social networking platforms and to coordinate activities across those platforms and your business website.

I Don’t Have Time To Post Updates On Multiple Social Networking Platforms | Using Social Media for Your Business

Business owners struggle to find enough time in a day to help customers, interact with business partners, manage employees, and run their business – let alone finding extra time to engage on social media. Add to that challenge the fact that it’s quite easy to lose track of time when engaging in social media and have minutes turn into hours.

1. Get Organized | Using Social Media for Your Business
Once you have a handle on the business goal you’d like to achieve using social media for your business and have a strategy for pursuing that business goal, a good first step is to get organized. Whether you’ll be sharing this responsibility with a team or doing it yourself, it’s important to outline who will be handling which activities and how those activities will be performed. This can be somewhat informal in smaller organizations, but in larger companies RACI charts and a documented social media policy are a good idea

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2. Set A Schedule | Using Social Media for Your Business
As with all of your responsibilities, you must set aside time to engage with your stakeholders on social networking platforms. It’s OK to time-box this activity as that will encourage you to be more efficient, focused, and productive. It’s also important to note the importance of sticking to whatever schedule you define as your stakeholders will expect to hear from you at those designated times, and if your schedule becomes erratic or has long lapses of “radio-silence”, you can quickly lose the following and level of engagement that you worked hard to establish. Think of your social networking time as “store hours”. Once customers learn your store hours, they’ll come to your store during those hours and expect you to be open for business. Now, imagine the impact if you set your store hours, then didn’t show up to open your store for several days or weeks. What would happen to your customers? The outcome would be similar in social media if you set a schedule and did not honor it. That being said, the schedule you define (e.g. daily, weekly, bi-weekly updates, etc.) is up to you – the important thing is to be consistent.

Another important factor to consider is that all of your social networking interactions do not have to be real-time. As you’ll see in the next section, there are several social networking tools available that will let you schedule your updates to social networking sites. For example, if you normally post updates to Facebook on Wednesday afternoons, but are planning a two-week vacation, you can schedule those updates ahead of time to post on the two Wednesdays that you’ll be away – ensuring continuity for your stakeholders.

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3. Set Smart Alerts | Using Social Media for Your Business
As you start to amass a large following in social media, it’s easy to become overwhelmed by the volume of people and posts you must respond to. There are a few key things you should keep in mind for dealing with this.

Your Community Can And Will Help You: As you build an engaged community in social media, they’ll often step in to help each other when you and your team are tied up. For example, if you post a solution to a product issue on Twitter and are delayed with another matter before you can share that same information on Facebook, a member of you community may jump in to field customer questions on Facebook and refer customers to the information you shared on Twitter. This behavior can be quite helpful in managing the volume of interactions in social media and should be encouraged and rewarded. That said, you’ll also want to monitor these interactions where possible, so you can jump in with additional information and/or corrections as appropriate.

Prioritize Your Notifications: Social networking platforms and the above integrated tools will let you set alerts for important occurrences, but you have to prioritize those notifications – especially as your following grows. For example, on Twitter you can set notifications for various activities including: when your tweets are favorited, when you’re followed by someone new, when you’re sent a direct message, when you’re mentioned in a tweet, etc. If you set all of these, you’ll get swamped with notifications and will quickly get overwhelmed. With each social networking platform you’ll have certain behaviors that you’ll try to encourage and will want to acknowledge and possibly reward. Set your notifications with those behaviors in mind, so you won’t miss those key interactions.

Tweets from our world: Cotton Court Twitter

Follow pictures from our Instagram world here: Cotton Court Instagram

If you missed the article you can follow the link to Our Guide to Instagram for Business

 

Happy 7th Birthday Twitter!!

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As active users of Twitter we thought it’s only right we write a quick blog about how it came to be.

Twitter is celebrating its 7th birthday with a video showing a short history of the service, from its humble beginnings and co-founder Jack Dorsey’s first tweet, to the present day, when it boasts 200 million users.

Did you know? The most tweeted message was about US President Barrack Obama when he won the presidential election 2012 “Four More Years!”


Launched on March 21, 2006, Twitter has grown from a promising little service with a lot of server issues to one of the world’s largest social networks, with “well over” 200 million active users which send 400 million tweets each day.

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Follow tweets from our world: Conferencing- Virtual Office – Hot Desks & Office Space. Tweets about our world. ^AB Events Coordinator ^JN Building Manager

Follow us: Cotton Court Twitter

Social Media: Getting It Right Seminar Photos

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Quick Snapshot from the Downtown in Business Social Media: Getting it right seminar.

A huge thank you to Tracey & Roger – Downtown in Business, The cheeky chaps Nathaniel Cassidy & Tom Stables from 3ManFactory, Hiran Panchal – Cotton Studios, Robert Binns – Cotton Court Business Centre for his referee skills & everyone who attended.

Follow us on twitter #DTsocial – fast paced social networking…..

Here’s a few tweets from the seminar

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A couple of pictures from todays event

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Getting ready to kick of the Social Media: Getting it right seminar hosted at Cotton Court Business Centre with Downtown in Business

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Tom Stables & Nathaniel Cassidy – 3ManFactory discussing customer service interaction with social media. Nathaniel telling us about watches? Christopher Ward Watches – Great example of good customer service – They made 100 limited edition watches after a customer tweeted them.

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Creating a check list for you social media to target your key objectives month by month! Helps target and encage your customers and followers.

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Nathaniel Cassidy – 3ManFactory showing twitter search tools during the seminar. Who is Frank McKenna??? – Downtown in Business Chief Executive.

Follow: 3manFactory

Follow: Frank McKenna – Downtown in Business

Follow: Cotton Court Business Centre

How to use instagram for business

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headerThere’s business to be won, customers to acquire, loyalty to create and fun to be had using Instagram for business. Even if you sell insurance, you’re in recruitment or you sell nuts and bolts – don’t count this channel out just yet.

Whilst your competitors are still headlong in the social media ‘big four’ (Facebook, Twitter, Google+ and LinkedIn), you could be stealing market share with less popular or mainstream channels. In fact, many businesses could do very well looking for niche channels that they can dominate instead of being an also-ran on mainstream channels that are becoming more and more saturated with competitors.

Most of us know social media is here to stay and whether we like it or not it’s part of our every day business just as much as a telephone, computer or a website is vital to our business.

This means that, on the whole, just being ‘in’ social media is no longer good enough, you’ve got to be winning and you’ve got to have a smart approach to your digital communications these days if you want to make it all worth while.

As an agency, we’re working harder than ever to provide insight into how people can get a strategic edge from their social media activities and one way to add value is to start looking for new channels and applications to tap into as well as plugging away with the ‘big four’.

One such channel that’s still very much overlooked in my opinion in Instagram (it wasn’t overlooked by Facebook, mind you, who paid $1bn for the service so there’s some pretty clever guys in Silicon Valley who agree with me).

What Instagram loses to the big four in overall user engagement numbers, it more than makes up for with loyalty and a sense of community that tends to only exist on the less popular channels. It seems bizarre to intimate that Instagram has a small usership – 40 million users worldwide isn’t too shabby and there’s more than enough to justify looking for your slice of the action.

With so much going on, however, and so much more you’d like to be doing with the big four, why would you consider introducing another channel into the mix, let alone a mobile photosharing application? I can almost hear you asking out loud: ‘How am I supposed to use a photography app to generate more sales for my business?’

I’m confident that Instagram can hold your attention when it comes to direct business reasons to engage. One of the biggest and quickest indicators worth noting is that there are already plenty of well-known brands using Instragram to raise more brand awareness and loyalty.

Top 5 Brands Using Instagram:

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Why use Instragram for Business?

  • It’s much easier to explain or communicate with visuals – a picture paints a thousand words!
  • People share photos up to 12x more than they share comments and text.
  • Instragram integrates with Twitter and Facebook seamlessly. 300 million Instagram photos land on Facebook each day.
  • It’s still in its infancy – getting in now will stand you in good stead for the future (it’s currently growing at a rate of one user per second with over 400 million users in total)
  • Instagram is growing four times faster than LinkedIn
  • A photo on Instagram could easily be seen by more people than an advert on a Time Square billboard in the same period of time

 

Still not convinced?

12 Tangible Ways Instagram Can Add Value To Any Service industry / B2B Business

  1. Giving people a ‘behind the scenes’ insight into your business and your team can help to add credibility, trust and likability to your brand. We link our Instagram photos to a gallery at the bottom of our homepage Ph-Creative.com
  2. Instragram can be a powerful visual way to provide real-time customer service to show ‘how-to’
  3. Instagram can be used to keep in touch with customers and show you care – send a picture of something useful to somebody else or evidence that you’re thinking about them
  4. You can use Instagram to promote and engage with events in real-time and provide a legacy of content afterwards
  5. You can search instragram to find journalists and bloggers who could contribute to your blog or include you in coverage elsewhere
  6. Using Instagram as a visual diary of projects can provide a great visual way to record and creatively present case studies of work that stand out and get attention
  7. Instagram can be your virtual scrap book to record inspiration, projects, ideas and reminders
  8. Photographing projects and products can provide specific visibility with prospects interested in the same subject matter in real-time
  9. Including location data can lead to exposure to other users close by –  this can open doors when it comes to being found by new prospects and peers, and build supplier relationships
  10. Instagram can be searched  (using the hashtags and user names) to find relevant prospects, peers and suppliers
  11. You can use Instragram as a quick, real-time means of keeping up with latest developments in technology and/or competitors
  12. Competitions can be run on Instagram and can leverage activity to provide visibility in other social channels

12 Tangible Ways Instagram Could Add Value To Any Sales/Consumer Business

  1. Feature your products and generate more visibility for your entire inventory
  2. Push new products to raise immediate awareness.
  3. Like and follow complementary brands that sell other popular related products
  4. Run competitions for the most popular photo of a product (encourages sharing to get the most Likes)
  5. Run competitions to find new products to feature –  ask your community to suggest new ideas
  6. Ask for feedback and use it to improve products and handle returns and customer satisfaction
  7. Link your Instagram photos to Pinterest and harness the growing power in that channel
  8. Release sneak peeks of new product lines to create hype or interest pre-sale
  9. Use Instagram to develop a strong brand personality and association with other brands
  10. Generate outreach opportunities with industry journalists
  11. Publically reward loyal customers with unexpected gifts or acknowledgments
  12. Create hype surrounding ‘Instragram only’ sales offers

When should I be posting pictures and engaging on Instagram?

  • When you see something of particular interest
  • When you see something of particular relevance to you or your audience
  • When you’re at an event
  • When you get the most engagement – experiment with when a photo gets the most attention and record when your photos are most likely to be seen based on this live feedback

How can I stand out on Instagram?

  • Try to be original – don’t post the obvious version of the shot, look for a better angle, an unusual side or perspective.
  • Use the standard filters to make an average photo look great.
  • Use the soft focus feature to exentuate aspects or blur out parts of the photo
  • Crop the photo well remove unwanted clutter or distractions from the main focal point.
  • Try using some other apps to take photos and process you photos for added effects first. I recommend Camera+Photoshop Express, & Gridlens

Who should I be looking to interact with on Instagram?

  • Peers
  • Prospects
  • Journalists/press
  • Bloggers
  • Competitors
  • Customers
  • Customers’ friends
  • Industry experts
  • Neighbours (local business community)
  • Team members
  • Relevant brands
  • Relevant Twitter influencers
  • Relevant associations, governing bodies & awards committees

How do I find people to engage with on Instagram?

  • Search through followers of a relevant users and follow them / like their photos
  • Search friends of a relevant user and follow them / like their photos
  • Search for keywords by relevant user and by relevant photo, follow them and analyse/note what tags they use analyse who’s following them – follow the interesting and influential ones

How do I Engage with a relevant community on Instagram?

  • Like some of their photos
  • Leave relevant, positive comments using the right tags
  • Mention other users in comments
  • If people comment on your comment, keep the conversation going by commenting again!
  • Tweet other people’s photos and share them on Facebook etc

How should you comment on yours and other peoples’ Instagram photos?

  • Be nice. Compliments go a long way
  • Be sincere, make an observation that’s true and interesting
  • Be thoughtful either by suggesting something similar in content or style
  • Be humorous, there’s nothing wrong with making people laugh (in good taste!)
  • Be real, don’t just comment because it’s part of a strategy, comment because you mean it and have something useful to say – you should only be focussing on things you like or know a lot about and so put that to the test and use what you know etc.
  • Be quick. The more real-time you are the more notice people will take of you and the more people you’ll reach because it’s current and people are looking at it now.
  • Be smart. Use the right language and include useful tags that you know are used by the user or other relevant users

Find us on instagram: CottonCourt

Its a dogs life at Cotton Court

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Our Boss recently brought his house guest into work for the week and what a big softie he is! Alfie entertained a selection of our staff & clients with a few of his tricks. He even managed to show up our own Robert Binns up a couple of times by finding a new master.

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Get Started with Social Media, with Cotton Court and 3ManFactory

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Get to grips with your business’s social media presence

Let us show you how to engage with new and existing customers, increase your website traffic and improve your lead generation.

Cotton Court is hosting social media workshops in conjunction with 3ManFactory. This course is ideal for business owners, freelancers and anyone responsible for customer service, marketing or PR within their organisation that want to take the first steps into social media.

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These courses are hands-on and are carefully structured and designed so that each delegate will leave with complete profiles on Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn., and will be linked with other businesses through these pages.

Social media has transformed the way that companies of all sizes interact with their customers. Businesses can use Facebook and Twitter to reach over 30 million users. LinkedIn however is 4 times better for b2b lead generation than Facebook and Twitter.

The facts:

  • 91 % of experienced social marketers have seen improved website traffic due to social media campaigns and 79% are generating more quality leads.
  • 75% of business owners have been put off a particular company due to their poor use of social media.
  • Social media users who receive great service tell an average of 42 people (compared to just 9 for social absentees)
  • 47% of customers are somewhat likely to purchase from a brand that they follow or like
  • 65% of the world’s top companies have an active Twitter profile
  • 90% of marketers use social media channels for business, with 93% of these rating social tools as “important”

These courses are held monthly within our IT Suite.

To book your place, or for more information, please call 01772 507767 or email info@cottoncourt.co.uk

Merry Christmas & A Happy New Year!!

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We would like to wish all our customers a very Merry Christmas! & a Happy New Year!

Thank you for a fantastic year! Please enjoy our environment friendly Christmas Card.

Thank you again for your business & support in 2012

From everyone at Cotton Court