Twitter and LinkedIn for the Fresh Produce Industry

Fresh Produce Social Media Seminar

Social Media has without question impacted on every British industry over the past ten years, albeit some sectors have embraced it quicker than others.

Now the fresh produce industry is latching onto the benefits of using Twitter and LinkedIn to increase brand awareness and there’s never been a better time to get involved.  With this in mind, I’ve put together an unmissable and totally free seminar for FPC members to get you started effectively on these two essential platforms.

Here’s what some previous attendees have to say about my seminars:

“Twitter has become one of the most dominant social networking platforms. For many people it is the primary way that they interact with the online, and increasingly offline, worlds. No organization or individual can afford not to have a Twitter presence, especially if they care about their reputation or brand.  Sarah-Jayne Gratton (@grattongirl) explores the nature of Twitter and LinkedIn marketing and provides many useful tips and insights for getting ahead and becoming noticed and valued on both platforms.”

Dr. Bojan Tunguz, Agri-Physicist

“Sarah-Jayne takes her time explaining why Twitter and LinkedIn work and more importantly she also manages to make it evident why social media is important and a necessary part of the way you and your company should communicate and push your message or product.  An invaluable course that has taught me plenty and given me confidence”.

Simon Buckley, Food Technology Consultant

“If you’ve been intimidated by social media, you will find this an excellent introduction as to how to think about it, followed by discussions of specific implementation issues such as creating an effective profile, crafting memorable tweets and posts, how to think about followers, and so on. ighly recommended.”

James Strock, Serve to Lead

If you like what you’ve read in this post and are interested in learning more about getting started in social media then join me at 12 noon on Wednesday 26th November at the Haycock Hotel in Wansford for an afternoon of Twitter and LinkedIn training that will guarantee you hit the ground running in the social sphere.  As I’ve already mentioned, it’s completely free for members of FPC so please do come along.  Click here for more details and to book your place: http://www.freshproduce.org.uk/events/social-media-training-seminar/

5 Ways to Let the World Know You’re Serious About Social Media

Serious About Social Media

Get an ultra-cool multi-platform manager
Serious social media requires serious tools. The best ones are those that allow you to gain an instant overview of who’s following you and what posts and tweets are making the biggest impact on your audience and, ultimately, your brand. It all starts with your base-station; the right social media management tool for your needs. My personal favourites are Sprout Social and Hootsuite, which provide me with valuable insight into how both my own and my client’s social media platforms are performing in terms of interaction, reach and following. Both tools offer Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn integration and Sprout also includes reporting features for Google Analytics which, I have to say, is pretty nifty.

Punch up your profile pics
First impressions and all that!  

Nothing says I’m serious like a seriously powerful profile pic for each of your social media accounts. There are two approaches here; the first, be consistent with your image across all platforms or, alternatively, find a profile that matches the tone of each platform’s personality without diluting that of your own. Either way, Instagram aside, there are some great tools out there to help you stand out from the crowd. Firstly, give Pic Monkey a spin – the basic desktop service is free and offers some amazing editing tools, including text, frames, filters and fun clip-art seasonal add-ons, to ensure that you’re always on-trend with your followers. I also love Percolator, which creates dazzling multi-colored mosaics of your images, PicLab HD for trendy typographic pics and Retromatic, which will transform your boring selfies into dazzling vintage posters.

Develop a content calendar
Yes, I’m talking about transferring brand you into a calendar of great cross-platform content. For this, you’ll need to spend some time on working out exactly what content excites you and, equally, what content you can provide that will excite others. I work with a separate calendar for each platform and then integrate them through a mix that can be just shared across them (albeit with a few tweaks). Think of a radio show and incorporate a mix of entertainment, business, hobbies and random finds that will appeal to your brand and style of followers. Click here to read my post on the best curation tools for your social content calendar.

Start Listening
Prick up your virtual ears and start monitoring what your brand sector is talking about! What is buzzing within your competitor’s communities?  Use this knowledge to improve your content curation and sector predictions. Serious social media bods rely on great tools for this purpose,such as ViralHeat, which offers a unique insight into sentiment analysis and Talkwalker, which allows you to monitor your social media reach in real time.

Romance the Influencers
Virtual seduction involves making sure you connect with the right players in the social sphere – those people who inspire and point the way forward when it comes to sharing the best content out there. Of course, you eventually want to be an influencer yourself so connect with those who inspire you the most and learn from them.

Above all, show you’re serious about social media by keeping it real and being serious about brand you!

A Few Words of Thanks

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Having major surgery can have a profound effect on the way we choose to value what’s around us and the inevitable post-op recovery period affords the time to reimagine how our previous assumptions can be reshaped to maximise the quality of our lives.   It can also be a lonely time: I missed my mother terribly while in hospital – she was always the one I turned to when I needed strength – but my amazing husband and daughter were there to ensure that the flame of ‘good things to come’ was always burning brightly.  Along with them, I want to thank all my followers and friends for the waves of love and support that flowed out to me across the virtual ocean – it was the greatest medicine and the most powerful therapy I could have received.

So thank you x

Pandora Knocks – A Cautionary Tale

The Social Skillet

Whilst studying Psychology at Cardiff University in the early 1990s, my research group were given the assignment title “Power Currupts”.  The following is my interpretation of that statement in story form. This is the first time I’ve shared it and I’d love to receive your comments.

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She entered the room tentatively, nervously; one might even say excitedly.  Her movements cautious and self-studied.  No-one paid any particular attention to the strange girl in the blue shawl, no-one that was except Peterson.  He stood inside the large archway to the kitchen where she passed him with a visible flinch of panic at his observation.  He smiled inwardly at the thought.

Ralph Peterson took pleasure from evoking fear in others.   Fear gave him power – power brought him control.   He was greedy for it, and it too sought him out, as a flame seeks out oxygen. The great problem however, in the union…

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Product Review: iTeufel Air Blue – The Bentley is Now Supercharged

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A guest post by Dr Dean A Gratton

I reviewed the iTeufel Magnum some time ago and described the product as ‘The Bentley of Bluetooth Audio’. Well, it seems that those chaps at Teufel have taken the magical essence of the Magnum, rebuilt it, added some excellent features and supercharged it – yikes!

The iTeufel Air Blue now replaces the Magnum and there is a bumper feature set that will keep any avid music lover well-connected and their feet-tapping. As always, with Teufel audio products, the quality of sound for such a diminutive device is amazing and the richness of its base, which fills the room without distortion, is nothing short of breath-taking! Both vocal tracks and instrumentals have an unexpected sense of texture, space and depth to them, one that again, belies its compact size.

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The Air Blue naturally supports Bluetooth wireless technology. However, in Teufel’s new generation product, there is also Wi-Fi support, along with that for Apple AirPlay and Spotify. This means that there’s no excuse not to have your home beating out your favourite tunes.

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Connection too is a breeze – you simply connect your Air Blue to your Wi-Fi-enabled router or access point et c’est tout! Yep, any Wi-Fi or Bluetooth-enabled device can stream content to the Air Blue. It entices a social gathering of music appreciation: Thanks to the Air Blue your dinner parties can now become truly social musical ensembles of guest track preferences, all powered by their individual enabled devices, whether that’s Bluetooth or Wi-Fi capable. You could quite rightly say that the Air Blue enjoys a love-affair with a crowd, but it’s also a marvellous solo companion, playing background music whilst I cook and, in true Keith Floyd style, sip on a glass of Shiraz. Such an escape!

The Teufel Air Blue is, in essence, a superb example of THE new generation of digital HiFi. A wonderful all-around music entertainment system that puts the ‘social’ into the experience of superb sound quality.

How to Get Your Product or Service to Sell

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“I want it and I want it now” – this is the mantra of today’s society. And our cry is getting louder.

The need for instant gratification in all aspects of our lives has never been better illustrated than in our growing love affair with the many gadgets and gizmos offering to give us just that. It might be considered something of a paradox that the world we live in today generates its own need for speed by the constant reinvention the very products we were all perfectly content with before another faster, younger model began to ‘strut its stuff’. On the flip side of the coin, the world has never been better connected. As a result of today’s technological advances in all forms of communication, distances seem to melt away to nothing at the touch of an icon, making the world considerably smaller and our RAMS considerably larger as a result.

There are many aspects that require analysis in order to understand consumer motivation in a way that has a positive impact on marketing endeavours. My primary objective when working with a client is always the end consumer. By this I mean that I centre my research and investigation on the consumer environment. This is because one of the most important aspects of consumer psychology that directly affects purchasing behaviour is the decision making process. It comes about on a primal level as an attempt to solve problems which, in this particular sense, can be described as a need or desire that is, as yet, unfulfilled.

Consumers will often create their own problems by drawing internals comparisons based upon what their life is like and what they ultimately want it to be. So, with this in mind, creating problems for consumers however unethical it may seem will undoubtedly increase the sales of a product or service if an aspirational lifestyle model is at its root. This is when consumers are given a glimpse by marketers into the perfect lifestyle where attributes of your product or service are seen to be the key to finding a better way of life. Figure 1 shows the cycle of consumer problem creation and resolution.

cycle of purchasing

In a nutshell, the successful introduction of a new product or service begins and ends with understanding the consumer. However, this understanding shouldn’t focus purely on the behavioural psychological elements of the buying process but should take into account the various situational elements of life today that will ultimately build customer aspirations and ultimately influence the buying process.

How to Create a Social Media Masterpiece!

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Social media is art.  Yes, it really is!  Our brush strokes are our words, our platforms the canvas.  And yet so many of us continue to ‘paint by numbers’ rather than choose to be original.

Someone once said “life’s too short not to use the whole box of crayons”.  So, I have to ask the question: Why do we keep limiting our spectrum?  Trying so hard to conform to what we think will make us popular within those ever-elusive ‘cool tribes’ that we forget to use those shades that make us who we are.  These are the tones that are vibrant with our personality – the ones that set up apart and make us remarkable.

Conformity is easy and while, deep down, we might know that it’s boring, it’s the safe option for so many of us who are unsure of how to best use social media for our brands, whether personal or business.

So what do we do?  We pick a social media influencer, someone we worship from afar, and we try desperately to emulate his or her persona – painting our social canvases in his or her colours, whilst totally disregarding and devaluing our own.  We pick up a few followers here and there and but our method is ultimately flawed and doomed to fail.  After all, we’re painting someone else’s picture but, worse than that, we’re making a bad copy, a forgery if you will, and everyone knows that a fake is never as good as an original.

So please – do something remarkable this week!  Start with a clean canvas and create a social media masterpiece that has nothing to do with being in the ‘in-crowd’ but all about being YOU.

I guarantee you that amazing things will happen if you dare to try.

Five Easy Ways to Increase Your Social Media Influence in Five Minutes a Day

 

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It all starts with you and what you want to achieve from social media. And it’s not all about quantity! It’s about reaching those quality followers and fans that having seen your value will, as a result, follow and share your vision.

By implementing these five simple steps I guarantee you’ll experience a positive effect on your social media following. One that adds value and inspiration to others, whilst boosting your social influence significantly as a result.”

Get a Google+ account and join some relevant communities.

If you’ve already got a Google account then joining Google+ is as easy as clicking on the + link beside your profile name, uploading a picture and entering some info about yourself, your business – or both. Once you’ve joined you’ll soon see that Google+ is all about conversations between communities of passionate people. Unlike other social media platforms, Google+ allows you to immediately connect with people who are specifically interested in the same things as you via their Communities feature. This makes it incredibly easy to share (and find) great content and links, whilst increasing the visibility of yourself, your business and your brand in a way that adds real value to your social audience.

Piggyback on Twitter Trending Topics

Joining the conversation by piggybacking on a trending topic, using the appropriate Twitter hashtag, is a great way to increase your social visibility by sharing your knowledge and value when it comes to keeping up to speed on a particular subject. It’s also possible (character-pending) to include links to other sources relating to the topic that, again will, impact positively on your social influence.

Source Great Content

Great content curation is ‘where it’s at’ in effective social media follower growth. The high-rollers know that they need to stay ahead of the game by posting the latest news, views, photos and all manner of viral media to their audience. Favorite curation tools of mine include StumbleUponFlipboardFeedly and Storify.

Endorse and Recommend your connections on LinkedIn

Endorsements make it easy to put in a positive word for a LinkedIn connection without writing a recommendation. But if you feel you need more recommendations on your profile, consider asking an endorser if he or she would be able to write you a recommendation. An endorsement is a good starting point because you know the endorser thinks highly of your work and, as a result, others will too.

A Picture Speaks a Thousand Words

These days people like to receive their content in bite-sized nuggets that have instant impact. Keeping it short and concise and using the power of imagery to reinforce a post or tweet is a great way to grab attention and maximize the number of shares you’re likely to receive.

So, these are a few of the social media tricks of the trade that I use every day. I’d love to hear more of what works for you so please leave a comment and don’t forget to share this article if you’ve found it useful 🙂

Why Social Media ‘adds up’ for the Financial Services Sector

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It’s all too easy to shy away from the importance of adopting a social strategy, especially in a sector that has historically buried its head in the sands of media tradition.  Financial services brands have been slow to embrace social media and quick to disregard its power.  That’s all changing now however, as top financial brands like HSBC and MasterCard are showing the rest of the sector how it’s done in terms of putting together social strategies that really work and are changing the way they interact with their customers for the better. 

True, MasterCard got it wrong with their catastrophic involvement in the Brit awards, but they have well and truly redeemed themselves with their recent #PricelessSurprises hashtag, which has been tweeted and retweeted thousands of times, making them one of the most talked about financial brands in the social sphere. 

Likewise HSBC make a point of ensuring that each ‘tweeting’ staff member gives out their name when they help with any queries.  It’s a clever move in a sector recently devoid of trust.  A move that says they’re there to help with any queries and it’s a heartening gesture, as a name shows you’re reaching out to a real human.

Getting it right in the social sphere can be a daunting task, which is why I offer a totally tailored social media strategy; one that’s structured to fit your financial brand like a glove, providing the right blend of professionalism and affability across multiple platforms.

I’m here to help get your financial brand message across in the most effective way possible so contact me to find out more.  

How to increase your profits & brand exposure through Social Media

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As many of you already know, I take a ‘whole business’ approach to integrating social media into a business, which I feel is far more effective than the ‘addendum to marketing’ philosophy of many so called social media experts.  What I relay is a methodology that can be tailored to any business sector, covering all aspects of B2B and consumer relationships through the adoption of a two-way conversation.  This is particularly beneficial to businesses in terms of understanding their customers and partners’ needs, is a great customer response channel and adds great value when integrated as a social CRM mechanism.

My workshop at Glyndwr University UK, a precursor to my Exec MBA module, will be very different and immersive.  At the end of each day you’ll find yourself understanding the REAL value of social media and its potential impact upon your business and brand.  I’ll lift the lid on the all the hyperbole out there and show how to maximize the potential of each platform to amplify your brand message.

Understanding your customers wants and needs will enable you to effectively gauge what content will add value by solving a problem, building credibility and fostering trust.  Remember that memory is tied to emotions and that we, as humans, are continually governed by them on an unconscious level.  Long-term brand awareness and loyalty is ultimately driven by these emotional ties which, in turn, are driven by the value we provide to others.

 With this in mind, my innovative social media workshop will show you how to:

 Discover the power of the trust cycle

  • Explore the effect of emotion on branding
  • See why the old marketing methods no longer work
  • Turn your brand-message into a 24-hour online show
  • Find the formula for making your brand a trending topic
  • Discover your Vision, Value, Passion (VVP) connection
  • Use powerful tools for curation, monitoring and identifying your social capital in a way that makes sense.

  Join me there for a day of learning like no other you’ll ever experience!  Find out more by emailing: inbusiness@glyndwr.ac.uk

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