Using social media in your business

CONNECT

The internet could be called “The Connect”. We are all connected 24/7. Your business can no longer afford to stand apart from the digital revolution. Social media is here to stay. The conversation will go on, with you or without you, so be part of it and get connected.

I have included links here to getting started with a business account/account on each of the main social sites. Get started with TWITTER, FACEBOOK, TUMBLR, LINKED-IN, and PINTEREST and see where connections take you and your business! There are lots more articles on MASHABLE, TECHCRUNCH and HUBSPOT for further information.

CHAT!

The old ways of marketing are dying. Brands and businesses still need to think about their values and the “tone of voice” of the brand but of supreme importance in this new digital world is the TRANSPARENT, HONEST and AGILE voice of the socially connected brand. Consumers want to interact with brands and they want to do it NOW. This is a grew opportunity for SME’s who can be social ninjas compared to their slower larger competitors. 

Get started by talking WITH your customers instead of AT them. This will result in valuable feedback from valued customers, which is the breeding ground for adjustment and innovation – the tools of the social entrepreneur. The goal is to be a LOVED brand – loving your customers and they loving your brand in return.

CREATE REMARKABLE CONTENT

The wonderful team at Hubspot coined the phrase “Inbound Marketing” and their book will tell any social entrepreneur how to create remarkable content. Buy it here http://www.amazon.co.uk/Inbound-Marketing-Google-Social-Series/dp/0470499311/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1346275904&sr=8-1 (guys, you can thank me later!!). Seriously, it is invaluable for any SME. In a nutshell, blog, blog and blog some more, curtesy of WordPress. Click away photos to your hearts content on Instagram and pin everything on Pinterest!

LINKED-IN

Optimise and reach out! I wrote a blog a while back on optimising your linked-in profile here.

Reach out to everyone that is in your industry in your town and across the world. Go global, baby! Thats the beauty of Linked-In! Reach out politely and with grace and see what happens. The sky is the limit. It is a wonderful business tool. Enjoy!

PINTEREST

Pin, pin and pin some more! I wrote a blog yesterday about this site here. It is the fastest growing site since Facebook and your brand/business HAS to be on it. Have a read of the article and get pinning!

And watch out, your customers might get addicted to your pins, tweets, pics!

Surrendering to Social Media: Is It Addiction?
Learn about infographic design.

 

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Visual Storytelling – the apps we use

We’ve reported recently on Pinterest and Flipboard, two of the most visually stimulating and interesting curation apps around and here at Mama Tea we really think social media is moving towards what we call visual storytelling. We no longer want our social media newsfeeds to be full of words, we want pictures and even more we want the pictures to be telling us something about the person that took the picture, hence the phrase visual storytelling. Here’s our favourite apps for creating amazing pictures for visual storytelling.

Instagram

Everyone that is active in the world of social media will have heard of this app, aside from the social interaction aspect of the app, it has a selection of filters and effects that can be applied to photos you have taken on your phone.

The images above are a before and after using Instagram. The image on the left is the before shot taken on an iphone camera, the image on the right is the same picture but with a little bit of Instagram editing applied. The picture below is the same picture with more editing and another filter added.

glowing mama

Camera+

This app costs £0.69 but if you’re taken with the affects available on Instagram you’ll enjoy playing with the affects available on this app. It calls itself “the ultimate photo app” and I’m inclined to agree, the range of filters and editing tools available allow you to do anything from cropping a photo to being really creative with all sorts of effects.

mama tea birthday cake

mama tea birthday cake

mama tea birthday cake 3

The three photos above show the mama tea birthday cake from the first picture taken on an iphone in the office to the final picture that was used in our birthday blog post. You can see the original photo was not well lit and showed the desk in the background, a little bit of editing on camera+ and we have a picture that is good enough to eat!

There are other photographic apps but these two are my favourite and right now essential tools for my visual content. We at Mama Tea are not alone in thinking visuals, and importantly the quality of your visuals, are essential to your social media presence, Mashable have just published an article (here) about the importance of visual content and Hubspot have also published a blog post (here) on optimizing your pictures for google search.

Three Business Birthday Wishes

Hurrah! It is Mama Tea’s third birthday today! Three years ago, I set up stall at the Scottish Baby Show in Glasgow and sold our first bag of loose leaf Mama Tea. I didn’t realise then that it was also my birthday of becoming the Mamapreneur

I thought I would blow out the candles and tell you my three business birthday wishes:

Birthday Wish No 1 – Big Mama

I wish that Mama Tea goes from strength to strength. It is not easy bringing a brand to market but we have managed it! It is now our time to grow rapidly and periods of growth are always challenging for any business. I am busy raising investment money for our business and am going to be doing a series of blogs about the challenges of growth. Time to go big, Mama!

Birthday Wish No 2 – International Mama

I wish that we can launch Mama Tea in the US and Europe this year. We also want to change our website so that we can sell direct into as many countries as possible! We are going to be developing an international e-commerce platform over this next year, using the principles of agile development to launch it and develop it. Eventually, we want to sell into every country in the world. Let’s fly, Mama!

Birthday Wish No 3 – Social Mama

I wish that we could increase our social media presence by launching an app, or a map, or a niche social network or whatever the next social trend is! Connecting with our customers and being social. #mamateamap is our current social media experiment. Check it out on Twitter! We are using the principles of in-bound marketing in action to get our brand message out there and connect with our customers! Join our community – social commerce rocks!

I am excited about our future and looking forward to sharing the journey with you!

The Mama

Flipboard – our new obsession!

It was Apple’s iPad App of the year in 2010 and one of Time’s Top 50 Innovations and we love it, it’s changing how we read the news and view our social media. Flipboard is a free app for your iPhone, iPad or iPod Touch that calls itself “your (pocket-sized) social magazine”.

Flipboard presents your choice of social networks, news and publications in a magazine style format. The idea is to fill Flipboard with the things you like to read and it then creates a magazine of the bits of the social web that matter to you. You can then flip through the pages of your personal magazine commenting, sharing and saving to read later.

Flipboard has taken the social web and presented it in a gorgeous, glossy readable format. This style of content curation makes the likes of Twitter and Facebook newsfeeds immensely enjoyable to read and all collects it in one place. We predict that content curation will be a significant factor in the coming year for the social web. Flipboard has some big fans here and we’re trying hard to spread the word about what an amazing app it is to use!

Pinterest – The Social Network of 2012?

You may have heard murmurs of a new social network on the block and wondering if it’s worth getting involved. Let me warn you before you do; it’s addictive!

Pinterest – what is it?

Pinterest describes itself as “a virtual pinboard”. It allows you to created themed pinboards of your favourite images and each time you “pin” something new your followers see it, and similar to other social networks they can like it, comment on it or re-pin it. Install the “Pin It” button to your bookmarks bar and every time you’re browsing the internet you can pin any image you see, it really is that easy!

This site feels and looks very different to the other social networks around and is all about sharing really gorgeous and lovely images. It is really refreshing to find a social network that is not attempting to copy anyone else.

Pinterest Figures

The site is only two years old. There are various figures around the internet suggesting Pinterest is the fastest growing social network or it has over so many new users per month, the exact figures are unknown but this table from a recent study by Experian Hitwise suggests that in November 2011 Pinterest had more users than the much better known sites such as Tumblr and Google+.

In addition to that, Pinterest has been much talked about in the last couple of months so it would be reasonable to assume the number of visits and users of the site has increased since this data was acquired.

Why Join?

Aside from the fact it’s a lot of fun and addictive, from a business point of view it’s a good way to develop a brand image. The site is invite only but you can ask for an invite or if you have some social-media-ahead-of-the-game-friends they are probably already members and can send you an invite. Once joined, think about the image you want for your brand, you may want to have a board with pictures of your products but you will probably also want to have boards of cool things your brand would like to associate with or a board of things you think would be funny to potential customers. As with other social media marketing it never looks good to solely promote your brand and nothing else, Pinterest is a great place to develop a wider brand image and personality away from just your logo and products (here is a really good article to help you think about brand image). So have some fun and start pinning – just don’t blame me if you get addicted!

The ONLY resolution you need in 2012!

It’s that time of year. We are all making resolutions and setting goals, so its pretty exciting!! 





If you are like me, you have a LONG list of dreams and ambitions, which is great!! However, once we get stuck into the year, we tend to lose that list and forget about the goals we set at the start of the year. 


At the end of last year, READING three books transformed my understanding of marketing my tea business. Therefore I now have two lists of resolutions:


1. My long list of exciting goals.
2. I RESOLVE TO READ





You might be like me – I find a brilliant book, get all excited, start reading it,  make notes, then get distracted and before I know it, it is propping up my ipad as I play Angry Birds.





No more!! 


1. iPad thou will helpest me at all times to read RELEVANT material on apps like Mashable as well as brilliant books;
2. Kindle, thou might not be as sexy as the said iPad, but at least you cannot DISTRACT me with email missives from all and sundry 
3. iPhone, Facebook and Twitter, I love you all but thou will all be getting switched off (I know, heresy!) when I am READING!



Here are some of the exciting ways in which I will be improving in 2012 through more reading:
I will:

  • improve my vocabulary (cool, so a step up from #hurricanebawbag then!)
  • improve my concentration (I really really need this one…….what am I doing again……?)
  • build my self esteem. Wow! With more knowledge comes more confidence. Or I just become really good at pub quizs. But still, I am keen on this benefit!
  • improve my memory ( need this one – see point above!)
  • improve my creativity!! Hurrah!!!!
  • always have something to talk about…….(if I haven’t lost all my friends by boasting about my new vocabulary and winning every pub quiz!)
  • reduces boredom. Bye bye Angry Birds.
Who would have known that reading could give you all that?



http://www.inewsindia.com/2008/09/29/10-benefits-of-reading/


In my next blog post, I’ll tell you which books transformed my understanding of marketing last year!!


With Kind Resolutions,
The Mama