Ditch the magnolia and add colour to your social media content

Social media, like anything else, is full of contradictions. I tell you to post regularly and consistently but now I’m going to tell you not to post.

The reason is very simple. If you can’t think of anything engaging to post, and it doesn’t meet any of your social media objectives like promoting word of mouth, or building brand awareness, then what is the point in posting it at all? Blah blah vanilla social media content will not attract a fan to start following you; it will not build your credibility or expertise positioning; it will not attract engagement. The risk is it could actually undermine the positive steps you have been achieving.

How confident are you about your keywords?

Some social media tools will offer you efficient ways to save time curating content for your accounts. You add keywords to a search tool, and it will gather content for you. Some tools even post it for you automatically. But that content may not be fresh and it may have already been posted by your competitors. Not to mention that is may be so generic that it’s not of interest to your niche market.

You must be very specific and sure of your keywords too. Nothing worse than your social media management tool posting something inappropriate because of a lazy keyword choice.


Is your content boring?

If it feels generic, it probably is, and will be just like a wall of magnolia in your follower’s news feed. Nothing wrong with magnolia of course. It has it’s time and place and can create a great backdrop to a stunning art collection creating an impact for your visitors. A generic post will have a time and place as long as it is just the background, and around it you post your most creative and insightful posts. You are much better off spending time posting great quality content targeted for your customer and posting less often, than just continuing to post boring post after boring post and ticking the box.

As yet, there is no tool available that can do it as well as you (or a dedicated, well briefed, competent social media manager). So skip the magnolia and dip into a colour palette that has been specifically created with your audience in mind.

If you would like any help choosing your colour palette, you know where I am.

11 indisputably good reasons why your business should use social media

Why should I use social media? Good question and one that is often the second question asked immediately after I tell people what I do.

The short answer is that given the sheer volume of customers using social media multiple times every day, it is THE most effective way to build your brand awareness. But just in case you need a few more reasons, read on and don’t miss the last reason. Read more

Quality Over Quantity In Social Media

Are you talking to an empty room?

Getting followers for your social media account is easy. Just spend $50 with one of those accounts that followed you last night, you know the ones, they can get you 1000 genuine followers in 24 hours.

So what’s all the fuss about?

Let’s take a step back to when you made the decision to market your business on social media. Why did you decide to do that? Read more

Love it or Hate it – Social Media

If there was ever a day to watch how brands use the power of social media to elevate their positioning, jump on the band wagon, or just simply take a pop at the competition, it is the day #MarmiteGate erupts.

The pricing row between Unilever who want to put up their prices due to the weakness of the pound, and Tesco who want to keep their prices low has reached a stalemate. Unilever have stopped supply of some of the nations favourite brands to the nations favourite supermarket and this includes Marmite.

Twitter reacted.

vegemite tweet

Vegemite tweet now deleted







While some of the links are tenuous, yes I am looking at you Henry Pryor, timeliness and humour in this instance have got these brands noticed in a hot trending topic.

The other thing to note is that these tweets are all visual. An image will always get your content noticed before the wittiest tweet. We are drawn to visual references and this includes a fast stream of tweets. As of this moment, 13th Oct 2016, #Marmitegate is trending at number one in the UK and anyone searching that hashtag will have thousands of tweets to look at. Make yours stand out with a photo, a gif, a video.

Finally, fast marketing reactions don’t just happen on social media. Well done Poundland for your quick printing!

For help with your social media marketing, for a social media marketer that’s quick off the mark, for saving you the constant pressure of knowing what to post, give me a call. Will work for Marmite.

How to get over the new Facebook algorithm blues

facebook algorithm

Yay, another new Facebook algorithm!

This time, Facebook is favouring content posted and shared by your friends and family over content from business pages.

Is this another kick towards businesses paying for their posts to be seen? Well, yes. Facebook need revenue. But it is also in response to demand.

People are sharing less about their own lives on Facebook. More content is shared from business pages than photos, videos, updates about what we are up to as people, and Facebook is a social platform so it kind of makes sense that it wants to drive more people back to sharing.

Notice I have used the word sharing a few times already? With good reason.

The secret to getting your content seen, now and when the new Facebook algorithm kicks in, is having great shareable content. The more your content is shared, the more people will see it. Obvious really.

If Facebook can see that your content gets good engagement, it will serve it to more people in their news feed. The more it is seen, the more it will be shown. The more it is shared by people, the more friends and family see it, which means it is liked and shared even more.

So what does great shareable content look like. Go back to your Facebook insights. What type of content got the most engagement recently? Video? Cute puppies? An opinion piece?

Learning from what has worked in the past is your best starting point.

If your content is just not getting any reach with the Facebook algorithm, and it happens, then look at what you have posted very recently, choose something that you think your page fans will really relate to, and open your wallet and boost it. Yes Facebook wants your marketing spend, but isn’t it worth it? Facebook gives an impressive reach per £1 spend because its ad targeting is excellent.

A boosted post that is targeted to your existing page fans (you know they are into your brand because they liked your page, right?), will ensure a good reach and will get the best engagement. Facebook will look back at the performance of that post when it considers who to serve your next post to, and that high engagement will push it up the newsfeed. You now need to keep that momentum.

Final point to note is that native content is more likely to work it’s way up the news feed with the new Facebook algorithm than links to another site. If you are posting a video, upload it directly to Facebook. Get signed up on Facebook Instant Articles for posting your blog. And content that expresses a point of view, solicits opinion and prompts an emotional response will be more share-worthy.

If this all feels a little daunting, get in touch and I can help you build your brand and business on Facebook, whether it is a coaching session or launching your next social marketing campaign.

Using images to make the most of your 140 characters in Twitter

twitter images

The wonder of images!

Not only do images generate more interest, likes and retweets than plain text tweets, but you can use the image to add information that you simply can’t fit into a 140 character limit on twitter. As long as the rest of your tweet contains the keywords you want to be found for (and makes sense!) you can add the extra information to the image.

So all you have to think about is, as a retail business marketing on social media, what can you post about.

Well there has been a study by the New York Times Customer Insight Group which has defined the top 5 reasons that motivate people to share content:

  • To inform and influence – to encourage action or change opinion
  • To demonstrate personality – show what you care about and reinforce their image
  • To connect with others – to keep in touch with those they would likely lose contact with
  • To feel valuable – to feel more involved in the world
  • To show support – to causes or issues

Baring those motivators in mind here are 10 image suggestions that you can post and see what works best for you, for your industry and your audience.

Quotes. Yaaaawn!  Yes we’ve seen them all before, text overlaid on a classic motivational stock photo. But what about customer quotes, over images of your product? See, there is life in quotes yet.

How to’s. Simple quick tips overlaid on a relevant image are helpful and very sharable. Think infographics and then simplify.

Amusing. You know how quickly a funny photo can go viral, if you see something amusing on your High Street, a local character, post that for your local audience to enjoy.

Note: No matter how funny/interesting/awesome the image, always check your spelling.

Giveaway. Instead of just posting a discount code add it to an image that demonstrates what the offer is. It could be a product or a service.

Inspire. Have you got a new product in stock? Show your customers how it fits into their lives or be styled to suit them.

Desk. Prove you are a human being and give a little away about your personality, without being over familiar of course. Show your desk and what you are planning and working on for your customer’s future benefit.

Facts. Share your expertise about your industry with your audience. A “Did you know…” fact on a relevant image.

Support. Are your products fair trade, sustainable, recyclable, renewable? Show how in an image.

Celebrate. Has your business reached a milestone or celebrated an award or anniversary? Tell your audience who will no doubt congratulate you. It could be as simple as a staff member’s birthday, or joining in with a relevant National Awareness Day.

Note: Get the person who is celebrating to smile – works even better.

Ask a question? Ask a question and then post the results as an image. Tea or coffee? Bourbon or custard cream? Gold or silver?

Now you have the inspiration, head over to our post about how retailers can create great social media images.

Tag Retail Post, we love to see great social media in action!

How retailers can create engaging social media images

Joe Imlay, State Journal photographer in darkroom, October 13, 1937. file/The State Journal-Register.

Joe Imlay, State Journal photographer in darkroom, October 13, 1937. file/The State Journal-Register.

(Or why not all social media images are created equal).

We know how important the visual appeal of a product or store is for customers and it is exactly the same for retailers on their social media accounts and, frankly, any other business too.

All social media accounts should be using images to attract extra engagement and boost social sharing of your brand. Get your store name out there with the added flare of a well-timed and well-placed image.

So without further ado, here are my top tips for making social media images work hard for retailers.

Size matters

Correct at time of writing this is a really handy resource for making sure that the social media images you use are correct for the platform that they are being published on.

It is incredibly important particularly if you have a key marketing message in the image that twitter or Facebook doesn’t crop it in the newsfeed thereby hiding the message from your next customer.

That’s not to say you can’t use one image on all the social media platforms. You can. Just make sure that the key text or visual element of the image is centered and fits within the sizes we’ve mentioned above.

Image Sources

Ideally you will have all your own unique images that you have taken yourself or commissioned from a professional photographer that conveys your shop, your products and brand values in the best light possible. But that may not be cost effective or practical in which case stock images are your friend.

But there are two problems with stock images:

  1. They can be expensive and you will need a lot of images to keep your social content fresh and engaging.
  2. They can look obviously like a stock image that any other number of retailers or brands could post (or have already posted).

Two solutions:

  1. Save money and use Flickr. It’s free and if you filter for “licensed for reuse” you are not infringing on any copyright rules. Add Unsplash to your list of free to use any which way you choose too. For US$1 per image you can download from DollarPhotoClub. Search for the perfect photo, find one and then look at similar ones. Cheap as chips. I also love Gratisography: free, licensed for reuse and cool. Just be aware that anyone else can download these images too which brings us on to…
  2. Edit your images to make them your own. Add a filter, crop them, brand them, overlay text using a photo editing tool, but make them your own and synonymous with your store.

So that conveniently brings us on to photo editing and why you do not need to sign up for evening classes in PhotoShop.

Editing social media images

To capture that moment in store when a customer was trying out a new product, or to share a behind the scenes re-merchandising session, you will probably turn to your mobile phone.

If you have been warned against taking photos on your phone and posting them on your shop’s social pages because it looks unprofessional, well yes and no.

You do still want to keep your images looking sharp, well composed, interesting and of the moment. And if taking a snap on your phone is too daunting, hand it over to someone in your team who is more confident. We all have skills and there is no shame in admitting composing a decent photo isn’t one of yours!

With an already great photo on your phone you can now download any number of photo editing apps and post that image to your social media account in minutes. Make sure you save your brand logo to your phone too and you can brand any image you take on the go with some of these apps.

Some apps that we have used and loved are…

Tadaa – great for effects, extra features available to purchase

Over – easy to add your logo, add-ons available (free and to purchase) for more fonts, effects etc

VSCO, Snapseed – Great effects

Brandr – easy graphics added to your images including branding and business specific packs, eg Sale banners etc.

Studio Design – great for graphic design

Wordswag – add quotes (always popular if a little unoriginal) to your images.

If you are sat at a desktop with your image you should check out Canva, one of the best free graphic design tools I’ve come across which includes stock images and illustrations ready to drop into your image. Yes you can pay for additional elements but with each only costing $1 it’s a no-brainer. Canva is also available as an app.



Then there is Picmonkey. Loaded with free elements, filters, fonts, stickers, pre-sized design features for social media including your Facebook header, collage maker, and pre-selected elements for calendar events like Valentine’s Day. You can upgrade which gives you access to more elements too.



Now go and take some pictures!

And because I love being social, and helpful, tag RetailPost in your tweets and posts and I will share them for you. Can’t say fairer than that!

5 reasons retailers should be using social media at Christmas

Christmas shopping will be social this year – customers search for brands and products on social media, they are looking for ideas, suggestions, they hunt down discounts and offers, and they seek social proof (their friend’s approval) of their purchases. But the big question is, are they talking about YOUR retail business and products?

More than ever, retailers should be using social media to take advantage of all those prospective sales. And here are our top 5 reasons why:


  1. Reach

How many customers visit your shop each day? How many customers do you talk to?

Even if you are in a high traffic location you are still only reaching a fraction of the customers you could be reaching if you talked to them on social platforms and not just in real life.

Even if you have an e-commerce business, you can significantly increase the traffic to your online shop with social media. Of course customers aren’t all going to visit your shop tomorrow, but they are much more likely to if they have seen you tweeting and talking about the fantastic products you stock.

By reaching out to your customers, your brand and shop are much more likely to be remembered the next time your customer needs a product that you sell.

  1. Relationships

Establishing a presence on social media takes you a whole new audience, but more importantly has the potential to take you even further. A customer finds you, shops with you (rather than your competitor), and tell their friends and connections on social media about you.

Your customers recommending you is the ultimate form of marketing and one that is very easily attainable. Your network plus your customer’s networks equals a hell of a lot of customers.

  1. Awareness

A daily reminder of why you are the best place to shop goes a long way. Repetition is key to being remembered. That doesn’t mean constantly filling a followers news feed or timeline with your content, it just means being consistent in your posting so that you are top of mind on the occasion they are looking for what you sell.

  1. Expertise

The majority of your content shouldn’t be self-promoting. Customers are on social media to be social, and they won’t follow you if all your talk about is yourself. But if you are offering solutions the problems that they have (like gift ideas at Christmas) then they are much more likely to follow you.

You are demonstrating that you understand their problems and illustrating that you can solve them.

Add in some relevant news, an observation, something you saw that you found interesting, some tips and advice. Give your customers a reason to follow you and over time you will build trust that you are the go to place for the product that you sell.

  1. Customer Service

It is a fact customers complain on social media. If they have reason to complain about you and they came into your shop you wouldn’t ignore them, and nor should you on social media.

Respond quickly and efficiently and make sure you recover from the fall out with great customer service.

A good recovery is great for PR even if there was cause for complaint. By the way, should a customer be complaining about your competitor, why not jump in and offer them your services. They are bound to be grateful.

Now if that doesn’t convince you, we don’t know what will. Get your shop out there on social media and if you need any help, you’ll know where to come.

Facebook testing a Dislike button

What is the etiquette for acknowledging a post on Facebook that relays bad news?

a) Like the post but risk sounding callous or completely unsympathetic?

b) Write a comment, but that takes effort and could show more empathy than you really want to convey?

c) Ignore it, therefore showing no sympathy whatsoever?

Facebook are now testing a solution to the problem, a dislike button. No it is not a button to press when you don’t like the post, and it isn’t intended as a down-vote button to be incorporated into the mind warping Facebook algorythm either.

It is intended to be a button to show empathy with the post.

While this is great for the person faced with the dilemma of showing no sympathy or being misinterpreted as a callous soul, it does also reduce the likelihood of writing a comment.

And comments do help the Facebook algorithm. Likes are a bit lazy frankly, and don’t carry the same weight as a comment when Facebook decides where to place your post in the news feed.

Just a thought when you a using your business page to post the sad news that the office plant has finally died.


Facebook dislike button


If you need any help in boosting your Facebook reach, get in touch for a no-nonsense, jargon free review.

How to manage your Social Media on Holiday


The trouble with being a small business owner is actually being able to take time off. Who will run your business while you are away? Who will liaise with your customers? And vitally who will manage your social media, because we all know the importance of social media for customer relations?

There are a couple of things you can do to keep your social media balls in the air while you are away on holiday which will keep customers in the loop, your social presence and sales rolling in.

The first thing is to ensure that you are consistent with your posting. Getting out of the habit or letting your posting slip will mean your customers aren’t thinking about you. Be front of mind by being present (but not in a stalker kind of way). To do this and make sure you get a rest, you need to schedule social media content in advance for the period of time you plan on being away. Then you should set up notifications so that you only need to be on social media for the minimum amount of time but for maximum effectiveness.

Be present even when you aren’t by scheduling content in advance

On twitter you can use a social media tool like Hootsuite and schedule content ahead of time. It’s as simple as creating a CSV file out of excel or similar with the date, time, text and a link if you want one. The only downside to scheduling like this is you can’t upload images in the same way as the tweets so you will need to add them one by one within Hootsuite. You can also use Hootsuite to schedule LinkedIn and Google+ updates in exactly the same way.

On Facebook, you can schedule content ahead on your Facebook page very simply. You add a status update as normal onto your Facebook page but instead of clicking “Publish”, click on the downwards arrow then click schedule.

You can also use a Facebook app like PostPlanner which works in a very similar way.

Instagram users can also schedule ahead of time using a webtool called Schedugram. You upload the images, you can also edit them on the site, add the first comment if you want to add a few hashtags and schedule the time you want them published. There are also tools available to schedule Pins for Pinterest like Viraltag or Tailwind.

So you are all scheduled ahead but what about the day to day engagement that gives your accounts the authenticity to be trustworthy and of value to your followers?

Set up social media app notifications to manage your time on holiday

Well there’s not a magic tool out there that will do it for you… but you can make life simpler by downloading the apps for the social media platforms you are using and setting up your notifications within each app so you can respond to mentions, comments and engagement without having to constantly check your phone.

When you have set up your notifications within each social media App you are running, you also need to make sure that the app is within the phone settings notification list too.

The last bit of advice I have is that you must remember you are on holiday! Dedicate half an hour maybe twice a day to respond to the notifications and have someone that you can delegate actions to back in the office!

Happy holidays and don’t forget to pack your phone charger!

P.S. If you really do want to switch off and unwind, outsource your social media while you are away. Relax in the knowledge that it is being managed professionally, in a timely way and your customers are blissfully unaware that you are sunning yourself (well unless you choose to tell them of course.)