Author Archives: Sam White

Competitions create insane reach

cornwall farmers image

 

In a world where virtually nothing comes for free the idea that you might not have to fork out a fortune on huge advertising budgets to reach thousands of people is one that will appeal to most.

Figuring out exactly what that ‘thing’ is often makes managing social media channels a dark art for many, who struggle to see the connection between the posts they put online, be that Facebook, Twitter or any other channel, and interesting, engaged, connected customers.

At Piece of Cake Communications we think we know the types of ‘magic’ formulas you need to ensure your organic ‘reach’ – that’s the number of people who see your posts without having to pay to force it into their newsfeeds – is as high as possible.

A shining case study

Who:

Cornwall Farmers

What:

Competition

Stats:

Average daily reach increase: 882%

Average daily likes increase: 1187%

Average number of shared posts increase: 2266%

Single post with maximum reach: 11,444 people. Bringing 182 new likes to the page. 921 post likes, comments and shares.

So how did this happen? Well, when we first started working with Cornwall Farmers we discussed the importance of organic reach. Ensuring that you content is interesting enough that people would actually WANT to share it on their behalf. So we put on hold advertising spend while we went about thinking about interesting, creative content.

Piece of Cake then worked closely with Cornwall Farmers to think about how we could help maximise their idea to put a competition online, with the marketing objective of building likes and raising awareness of the brand.

At Piece of Cake we were confident that quite early on, fans would start to recognise and look out for the post appearing in their timeline each day.

These results show that, with a bit of planning and giving some thought to process, Facebook can be used to deliver really outstanding results for a brand in terms of awareness and engagement, even at times of high activity on the platform such as in the run up to Christmas when people are often busy and/or distracted.

What can Piece of Cake do for your social media campaigns?

There are a few different things we can do to help turn around your channels (Facebook, Twitter etc) so they are working for you as an effective marketing tool, including:

  • Developing a social media content strategy
  • Exploring ways to use competitions and incentives to boost reach
  • Integrating your social media strategy with a broader marketing strategy
  • Posting on behalf of your business – thus saving you time and maximising impact

 

We’ve got plenty of examples from happy clients, so drop us a line on suzie@pieceofcakecommunications.co.uk

 

 

 

 

LinkedIn Company Pages

linkedin

 

 

 

 

 

Top tips on making the most of your page

 

We often get asked how best use a company page on LinkedIn. It works in a very similar way to Facebook, in that you want people to follow your page, engage with it and see it regularly in their news feeds.

The option to sponsor posts, in the same way that you can boost posts on Facebook, is also there.

Here’s a whistle stop tour of LinkedIn company pages. Best way to get used to using it? Give it a go!

Admin centre

This will give you a tour of your company page.

Opening page

Quickly access your page from your profile image at the top right corner of your profile.

 Edit page

Add admins, change company descriptions and add additional information.

Share button

Find new followers by sharing your page, either with individuals, groups or the public. Followers will see your page updates in their timeline.

Engage your audience

You can target in a range of ways, by company size, by individuals, employees or non-employees, industry, language preference, seniority, geography etc.

Analytics

See how your page is performing with analytics. This looks at information such as audience, impressions, clicks, interactions and more.

Social actions

Track your day-to-day interactions with your audiences. See likes, shares and more.

Post a job

Upload job adverts and information about posts you’re advertising.

Sponsored ads (native ads)

Gives you the option to do things such as:

  • Set your own budget and choose from cost per click or cost per impression options
  • Use Direct Sponsored Content to easily test your messaging
  • Target by job seniority, fields of interest, degrees, member groups and more

Notifications

Find out straight away who is interacting with your page.

 

If that all seems a bit much why not drop us a line here and talk to us about we can help manage your LinkedIn company page.

Sam and Suzie

A Year in Office

It was a big deal for Sam and I this time last year when we moved into our new office at Carrick Business Centre in Penryn. Ever cautious, we were nervous about taking on a property, but we were confident that if we did so the client base we’d built up by then would continue to grow.

And grow it has! People generally hear about us through someone they know, or a business we’ve previously worked it. That in itself is a great accolade for us and makes us feel proud to be recommended for a job well done.

It also got me thinking about the type of work Sam and I now do, which continues to grow and adapt, so I’ve jotted down a few…

 

Social Media Management

Perhaps the biggest boom in business growth for us over the past 12 months has been the number of social media accounts that we handle for clients now. Cornwall Farmers and our newest client Elbury Design are just a couple of the businesses that we’re proud to say we handle the social media accounts for.

Our approach is to establish a business as an expert, to have a clear voice online so that their clients and potential customers become aware, or more loyal, to their company or brand. Ideally our clients have limited contact with us at Piece of Cake – the last thing they want is to be constantly in touch with us about what to post and when, otherwise it’d be easier to do it themselves. So we take the pressure off.

Email marketing

Piece of Cake has partnered with Mail Away to offer email marketing management for our clients. We write distribute and analyse regular newsletter campaigns enabling businesses to keep in touch with the people important to them. Some clients, like Jhai Ltd, like us to manage their newsletters on a retained basis, while others, such as Mylor Yacht Harbour, ask us to write their newsletters on an ad hoc basis in busy periods.

Strategic Marketing

For those working as marketing directors or managers, or people running their own businesses, it is often useful to have someone to help with a strategic overview of marketing activity. Piece of Cake has worked with a range of clients to help in this way, either by working with businesses to assess their overall marketing objectives and draw up a plan, or by looking at what’s working well and what could work better. In the case of Trenona Farm Holidays, Sam has been working on a range of marketing activities, from overseeing the social media, to handling advertising enquiries and advising on which are best to take up, to redesigning the business’s brochure and advising on website and SEO options.

In short, Piece of Cake can handle a range of marketing activities, incorporating old and new techniques.

Public Relations

Securing news stories in the press and online publications is at the heart of any PR activity, and I have worked with a range of clients this year to secure coverage but locally and nationally.

Training

We offer a wide range of training, from our own course to teaching on behalf of other organisations and institutions. The Digital High Street Skills training we ran in conjunction with Cornwall Development Company was a great success, helping businesses and individual upskill their knowledge of digital marketing techniques from SEO to social media to websites.

Piece of Cake works closely with most of Cornwall’s Business Improvement Districts, offering social media training, with brilliant results.

We also support smaller businesses, such as PSP Insurance in Newquay, going in-house to help with marketing skills.

Mentoring

As mentors Sam and I work with a variety of individuals to help support their marketing activity. The idea behind being a mentor is that we talk through ideas and problems to support people in all kinds of marketing and digital marketing roles.

This has worked particularly well for the likes of Penair School, which has received digital marketing mentoring and Sunbeam Jackie, based in West Cornwall, which has received help drawing up marketing plans and looking at new target audiences.

Presentations and public speaking

Some clients enlist our services to add value to their own client offering. For instance we’ve been asked to give talks and presentations at a variety of places, such as a conference at Exeter Racecourse on social media, to delegates. We’re more than happy to create or tailor any kind of presentation that may help businesses see the value of marketing.

If you or your business would like Piece of Cake to help with any type of marketing activity, drop us a line here.

 

 

 

 

 

Look who’s talking…

WordOfMouth.pm_

 

 

 

Perhaps one of the most powerful marketing tools available to any business large or small is probably the cheapest, most cost effective way of getting your message out there. Here Suzie explores the power of Word of Mouth.

Sam and I do very little marketing for Piece of Cake in terms of putting out press releases about our business growth (and there’s been a stonking amount of that lately!), taking adverts in relevant magazines or boosting posts on social media. Not because we don’t believe in those things, quite the opposite, those things are the essential ingredients of the marketing we handle for our clients.

It’s because something else has been working for us exceptionally well in recent months since rebranding the business. We don’t spend any money on this particular form of marketing, but if anyone knows us they’ll know how we like a good chinwag, and that in essence has been the key our recent success.

Word of Mouth is probably one of the holy grails of marketing. It boils down to other people saying amazing things about your business, which in turn leads to recommendations or expressions of interest in what you do.

So how can you help the process of WOM along? How can you get people talking about you in a positive light? Here’s a great article from Forbes Magazine, which talks about just that.

To start with WOM will only come about if you have a product or service worth shouting about, so your business needs to be the best it possibly can. Think about what you want to be known for. It is your price point, your customer service, value? Essentially, what is it about your brand that you want others to repeat?

For Sam and I it’s that we are nice people to work with, who are experienced and talented at what they do. We sell our business based on our personalities and that means actually we don’t have to sell our business much at all – we just be ourselves.

We offer information and advice quite freely. After every training session I do, I say to delegates, if you have a question just contact me. Invariably they do, but I see this as a two way trade- being constantly asked questions about my own knowledge of social media and marketing keeps me at the top of my game. Being approachable and knowledgeable is a key factor when Piece of Cake is being recommended by others.

We network – maybe not as much as we should, but often enough. Networking is extremely powerful in terms of encouraging others to talk about you and your business. So find networking events that’ll give you the opportunity to be gregarious about your skills. Piece of Cake runs regular networking skills sessions at Falmouth University sharing tips and advice on how best to make the most of networking events. To talk to us about it, click here.

Running training sessions that appear to be ridiculously under-priced is also part of the WOM long game. What better way to convince someone that you know your trade inside out than by teaching them a little of what you do! By doing this people see our natural delivery style and clear expertise and over the years we’ve reaped the rewards of those seemingly cheap sessions, by people coming back to us to take Piece of Cake on as its marketing agency.

To summarise find a way to shine, put yourself and your business ‘out there’, be informative, helpful and approachable. If you do these things you might not need to advertise quite so much, your clients and friends will do that for you.

A big up to UP!

Sam and Suzie

Sam and Suzie

Start up awards

Start up awards

Start Up Awards

Start Up Awards

Poldark Table

Poldark Table

Start Up Awards Brochure

Start Up Awards Brochure

The venue

The venue

Twitter handles of nominees. Amazing Start Up Awards

Twitter handles of nominees. Amazing Start Up Awards

Suzie and Sam celebrate at the Grad Start Up Awards

Sam and I were thrilled to be invited along to the Unlocking Potential Graduate Start Up Awards, celebrating the success of exceptional businesses that are showcasing the talent we have on our beautiful doorstop.

The awards were held at the Princess Pavillions on June 4th and was an evening that, as with most things concerning the Unlocking Potential team, left everyone in the room feeling inspired, elated and literally buzzing with enthusiasm for their own businesses.

Piece of Cake began its Start Up in journey in 2012, when we were invited along to a Boot Camp to kick start the support of the programme. When we signed up to the project, we only had a fledgling business. We didn’t know all that much about how Unlocking Potential, or Unlocking Cornish Potential as it was then known, could actually help us.

Fast forward a few months on and we found ourselves with a budget that would pay for marketing and training, but perhaps more importantly, we had a Business Development Manager – Chris, who became our sounding board, our go-to man, our friend.

Alongside Chris were others who’ve continued to give us unending support and advice. Sam and I are literally creepy in our adoration of Mark Smith and Ally Glover, we try to keep it under wraps, but if anyone asks us about them we are literally effusive with praise.

The other Business Development Managers have also worked with us to and send us graduates to mentor, interns to work within our business and hopefully soon even our very first member of staff to employ.

We weren’t expecting to see our name in the awards brochure. So we were literally chuffed to bits to see Piece of Cake in the list of ‘Success Stories’ that Unlocking Potential is proud to have supported.

Sam and I know that we haven’t hired the most people or expanded the fastest. That other businesses that started when we did have bigger offices and other outside perspectives of ‘success’. But what we do know is that we’re cautious business women, who have a thriving communications agency. We know what it feels like when we are repeatedly stopped by people who say ‘I hear great things’, ‘Piece of Cake is doing brilliantly right now isn’t it!’ and other comments that make us realise that our head down, tails up approach fuelled by our values to put our clients are the heart of everything we do, is allowing us to work for ourselves, doing something we love, in one of the most beautiful places in the world.

And finally, we know that we would’ve undeniably made Piece of Cake a success, but the road would’ve been harder, longer and a lot less fun without the help and support of Unlocking Potential.

If you think Unlocking Potential can help your business or idea contact them by visiting www.unlocking-potential.co.uk

Senior executives found lacking in job search skills

Suzie’s been working with Executive Connexions on some interesting new research about the senior executives job market…

Recruiters and headhunters believe senior level executives are entering their job searches unprepared, according to new research.

A report into the senior level jobs market, which explored the perspectives of both recruiters and candidates, including Finance Directors and Chief Financial Officers (CFOs), revealed many are spending longer than anticipated searching for their next role as a result.

Commissioned by career coaching company Executive Connexions, the research revealed that more than half of those looking for a new position spent four months or longer hunting, whilst one in 10 were still searching after a year.

Managing director, Steve Nicholls, said: “There seems to be a real disconnect between the perceptions of candidates and recruiters. According to many recruiters, part of the problem is that candidates expect positions to present themselves, often in the form of advertised posts.”

With close to around three quarters of senior jobs never actually being advertised this creates a gap between expectation and availability. Almost half of candidates interviewed said they hadn’t expected to be looking for so long, with 67% stating they’d expected to find the right position within three months.

Recruiters’ comments included that candidates tended not to have particularly good CVs or the ability to communicate their achievements. Others said many aren’t aware of the types of opportunities available, or are not prepared for roles that are not advertised. Another shed light on redundancy by saying there’s an ethos of just getting back into a role the next day, but a step back needs to be taken to reassess the situation before finding a new role.

Steve believes candidates need to change their approach: “Recruiters couldn’t stress enough the value of effective networking as an important life skill (not just when looking for a new job), to extend networks through tools such as LinkedIn and not rely on ‘out of date’ connections.

“Candidates should actively be visible, go out of their way to speak to people, and make themselves open to approaches and invitations. The bar has definitely been raised in today’s market, so this added level of activity is vital.”

In many instances employers now have raised expectations of the individuals they are recruiting, which means some may need to closely examine what they can bring to a role, how they can communicate their skills effectively, have a better understanding of the job market and employer expectations, as well as taking a targeted approach to company research.

With so many jobs in the ‘hidden market’ that aren’t advertised, but gained through connections, it is vital that candidates take time to develop relationships with peers, recruiters and key players in the industry.

Steve and his team at Executive Connexions work closely with senior level executives in helping them find their next role. They do so by providing personalised career guidance as well as access to their recruiter networks.

“The report stated that the return on investment (ROI) of career coaching is easily demonstrated in being able to get a better (higher paid) role more quickly. As such, we help with identifying the blind spots, supporting candidates to examine their full skill set, their presentation skills, and helping to understand the needs of recruiters or head hunters,” said Steve.

Mike Leach is the Global Product Development Project Finance Lead at Rolls-Royce Aerospace. He said: “My coaching experience with Executive Connexions demonstrated strong insights into the hidden jobs market and a very broad network that supports the next career leap. As a result I was able to achieve a fantastic new role following a period of unemployment.”

The full report is available to view by visiting: http://www.executiveconnexions.co.uk/jobsearchreport2015/ To speak to Steve Nicholls about career coaching email contact@executiveconnexions.co.uk or call +44 (0)1209 311235 for a confidential conversation.

Pre-season marketing to do list…

The weather is warming up, the nights are getting longer and that means the holiday season is literally just around the corner. Suzie’s put together a ‘to do’ of marketing essentials to make sure your business is ready to embrace the tourism boom…

Planning: Don’t fall into the trap of thinking that the summer will be busy anyway and that you don’t need to think about marketing at this time of year. Instead think of marketing during the busy season as connecting and engaging with your customers at a time when they love you the most. Forward plan not only your offers and interesting activity during the season, but make customers aware of the things you’ll have going on during the quieter times of year that they may be interested in. In order to do that you’ll have to think ahead to those less busy times now – so get your thinking caps on about ways in which you can effectively market your business from autumn onwards to the people standing in front of you.

Customer satisfaction: We’ve helped clients put together customer satisfaction surveys as it’s vital to find out what customers like about your business, what they don’t like and how you can improve. The best bit is by giving you their opinion you also have a way to contact them again in the future as you’ll more than likely include some sort of data capture information (see below). Ensuring your customer satisfaction is high will no doubt lead to improved business, but it’s also a good excuse to get back in touch if you’ve actively done something to improve something with your business. That alone might give someone the incentive they need to visit you again.

Data capture: Spend some time thinking of ways that you can capture your visitor’s personal information. You’ll need it if you want to get back in touch with them or market to them at a later point. This can be anything from a small postcard that customers can fill in, to feedback forms, a pop up on your website, perhaps even a competition. Ideally you’d like an email address and postal address as those are perhaps the easiest ways to market to someone after they’ve left your place of business. A telephone number is also useful and if you can get them to engage with you on social media (see below) even better. Email marketing is an especially useful tool and a great way of regularly keeping previous customers up to date with your news, views and offers.

Social media: Are you doing all you can to encourage people who interact with your business to follow you on social media? Make sure your printed materials, including everything you physically display has social media icons encouraging people to follow or like your business. One of the best ways to keep talking, engaging and interacting with past customers is through the use of social media, so make sure they know where and how to find you. If you have social media pages, try to ensure you’re increasing the amount of time you’re online during your busy season. You might not feel you need to as you’re busy anyway, but this is a great time of year to grab and hold a customer’s attention. After they’ve gone use social media to keep in their conscious thought and think of ways to encourage repeat business, bringing them back to you with offers, incentives and interesting information.

Trends: Tapping into a current trend is a great way of jumping on a bandwagon of popularity. It goes with saying that the television series Poldark is attracting a great deal of attention currently. Is there a way that your business can use the ‘Poldark effect’? Cornwall’s location in itself is a brilliant asset, surely that in itself is a reason to come to our fair county. Basically try to think of the things that make Cornwall so special and unique and tap into that for your own benefit. A great many businesses down here translate their websites in German due to the appeal of Rosamund Pilcher– what could you do?

Partnerships: Could you work with any partners or similar businesses to help promote your own business? At this time of year your competitors could also be your allies if you can think of a way to work together – it’ll give you a louder voice. Perhaps you could share promotional material in each other’s shops, restaurants, websites etc?

 

Piece of Cake Communications can help with any or all of these things, as well as a whole host of other initiatives to make the most of your marketing. Give us a call for a chat to discuss on 07812 525128 or email me on suzie@pieceofcakecommunications.co.uk

Sam reflects on Martha Lane Fox’s Dimbleby Lecture

Last night, Martha Lane Fox (she of lastminute.com fame) gave the annual Dimbleby Lecture which unsurprisingly had the internet as its theme. It was on quite late – past my bedtime actually – but nevertheless I was absolutely absorbed by it and found it really inspirational.

Martha’s main premise was that we all need to get better at the internet, because if we do, there are massive social and economic benefits. She quotes Swartz who said “It’s not ok to not understand the internet any more”. In addition, she estimated that if SMEs could get better at being digital, it would generate £18bn for the economy – not only benefiting their own businesses but in turn, all of us. Powerful stuff.

Our perspective on all things digital might be slightly lower than Martha’s but what she says is reflected in the experience we have with our clients. Simply showing someone how to use Facebook, Twitter or Google+ better does bring real benefits for their business – it raises awareness, allows them to interact with customers and generates sales. We ourselves are testament to that – new clients have come on board directly through an interaction on Twitter.

During the lecture, Martha introduced the concept of ‘Dot Everyone’. The UK can be brilliant at the internet – in fact we can lead the world in this technical revolution in much the same way as we have lead other technical revolutions in the past – but in order to do that we need to overcome some barriers. Martha would like to set up an institution called Dot Everyone that would have three key aims – to educate; to get more women involved in technology; and to be more ambitious.

I find the issue of female participation quite interesting. According to Martha, only 14% of those employed in the tech sector are women, and 98% of the code that enables all of our online activity was written by men. My own experience shows that views on ‘traditional’ male/female roles are still somewhat entrenched – my Falmouth University Business Entrepreneurship cohort of 21 only contained two girls. What was it that prevented more girls applying? Do they not see themselves as entrepreneurs? Do they equate entrepreneurship with the bitchy, backstabbing women on The Apprentice? (Happily, it’s looking like the balance will be more even for the next intake in September)

Piece of Cake is a classic example of a female-run business, even though we have always hesitated to classify ourselves as such. We share with many of our clients (and indeed competitors) the challenges of childcare, family and balancing priorities. Whilst we would never say being female has held us back, it has affected the choices we’ve made and we have almost certainly come up against some negative perceptions (sometimes even from other women!) and have had to work hard to get over them. But the reality is that most of our clients are women who themselves are running their own businesses and who are looking for help to improve their digital presence. They recognise it’s a low cost, effective way to promote their businesses but don’t know where to start. They are all very smart women who just need some pointers.

That’s also why Martha’s comment that education is at the heart of everything is so true. Only 30% of small businesses buy and sell online currently, and of the 10m adults in the UK who don’t have the skills to go digital, 50% are of working age. Martha’s ambition for Dot Everyone is to teach people about the internet, get them to see the possibilities and build it into their everyday lives, leaving no one behind. We like to think that in our own tiny way, we’re contributing to that.

The full transcript of Martha’s lecture can be found here http://www.doteveryone.org.uk/ and she has launched a petition to ask the Prime Minister to get Dot Everyone started www.change.org/p/the-uk-prime-minister-create-dot-everyone-a-public-institution-for-the-digital-age

Examples of social media excellence

social icons

Suzie runs through her favourite Cornish businesses that are using social media brilliantly…

I’m led to believe I’m a ‘funny’ person. I can make people laugh easily and often have an amusing anecdote that I can share to bring about a smile. However, when I’m asked to ‘be funny’, I can’t think of one remotely entertaining thing to say or do – and weirdly I do get asked to ‘be funny’. So there is a part of me that relates to the horror that so many business owners feel when they try to post something on their social media sites. Deciding what to write seems to leave many people cold, that’s despite the fact their business is probably doing a million different things that’s worth shouting about.

Instead of telling people what they ‘should’ be posting I often think it’s easier to show people examples of Cornish businesses using social media brilliantly. By looking at these companies it’s much easier to get a clear picture of what works and what doesn’t.

I thought I’d share some of the examples that I show the businesses I work with…

Facebook:

Beautiful images, regular posts, maximum engagement from page likers, video! The Bridal House of Cornwall has all of the elements needed for a successful social media marketing approach. I’ve worked quite comprehensively with these guys on their social media and they are hugely committed to using it as an effective medium to tell people all of the wonderful things that they’re doing. Check it out here.

Twitter:

Now, I’m not going to blag you here – Piece of Cake manages Mylor’s twitter account… but as you look through it here you can see it’s got loads of engaging content, a variety of posts, conversation and plenty of images. The perfect mix!

Blog:

If you’re looking for a blog that is a thing of beauty, and in fact looks so good it barely even looks like a blog then check out Ellie Michele’s Barefoot Cornwall blog here. Ellie’s Foodie blog is beautifully written and importantly has plenty of engagement and shares. Scroll to the bottom of each post and you can see how and where it’s been shared. Have a read through the posts and get a feel for the content – this is a blog written by someone with a passion for the subject. And that is what you need to be writing within your own blog – a personal interest, written with passion.

Google+

To be fair there isn’t much about the use of social media by Watergate Bay Hotel that I don’t like. The business uses social media brilliantly and I could’ve chosen any of their channels as an example of excellence. However, I’ve decided to show you their Google+ page here. With almost 1,300,000 views this is one popular page!

Pinterest

With beautiful boards showcasing the best of their collections here, the Seasalt Pinterest channel is a great example of how to use this social media. This is a page dedicated to brand building, helping you to understand their inspiration, their themes and what makes Seasalt such a gorgeous product.

LinkedIn

Having a personal profile and a business page is an important part of using LinkedIn effectively… but we believe it’s the conversations happening on LinkedIn that make it a vibrant social media channel. One of the groups I follow the most is the Business Cornwall group shown here… It’s full of interesting topics on what’s happening in the county’s business scene. Have a think about the groups you follow that you’d feel comfortable joining a conversation with. Or perhaps start your own?!

Snapchat

Okay, so this isn’t a Cornish business, but the way Sky News has embraced Snapchat is a fantastic to see. Snapchat has recently introduced a new feature in that you can now link to news channels sharing their updates in the form of images and short videos. Sky News do it brilliantly. Snapchat is growing enormously and is currently said to be worth £10bn. Read more about it here.

So, I’m well aware that there are LOADS of other forms of social media that I haven’t covered off here, but as a starter of brilliant examples these should get you going! Have fun!