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THe Cutting Edge in Banbury Hair Salon

The Cutting Edge Hair Salon Reception

If you’ve thought about using social media sites such as Facebook and Twitter, but wondered if it’s effective, read on …

Yesterday we launched the new website for Banbury hair salon: The Cutting Edge.  The site went live just before 2pm.  The salon directors understand the importance of social media and how it can help their marketing.  They use Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn extensively.

Despite it being a Sunday, a day when there tends to be less social media traffic, Kirsty Pearce (Salon Director of The Cutting Edge) started promoting the new site on their Facebook page and through Twitter.

The launch of a new website is always an excellent marketing opportunity and it’s possible to generate a significant volume of traffic using social media.  We always help our clients promote their new sites and keep a close eye on the website stats to measure the effectiveness of the launch activity.

Thanks to Facebook and Twitter,  record numbers of visitors looked at the new Cutting Edge website. In less than half a day, 858 people visited the site and a staggering 2,739 page loads were registered.  How does this compare to the hits on the average small business website?

This clearly demonstrates the benefits of social media as a marketing tool.  If you’re convinced, but don’t know where to start, you can get a free copy of our WORD-right guide to using Twitter here.

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As I’m sure you know, the WORD-right crew are big fans of social networking.  In our opinion,  Twitter and Facebook are musts for any business.

As a copywriter, I follow other writers on Twitter.  We regularly communicate and there is a great sense of fellow-feeling.  But I’ve recently unfollowed three copywriters – all for the same reason – swearing!

There is good and bad in every business sector.  There are as many good builders as there are fly-by-night ones.  Copywriting is no exception.  I always urge people, if they are planning to use a professional writer, to check out the standard of their work.

Perhaps now I will recommend checking them out on social media too.  A copywriter is meant to be good with words.  If the best they can manage is to string together a few four-letter words, would you want them writing about your business?

If a copywriter can’t express him or herself clearly and succinctly without resorting to profanity, my recommendation is they find another job where professional standards don’t matter!

Blog post by Joy McCarthy

If you’re a Twitter fan, you might wonder what all the tweets bearing the ‘#oxsconeoff’ hashtag are about.

WORD-right scone practice!

WORD-right scone practice!

#oxsconeoff is the Twitter tag used to announce the one and only, now world famous, Scone Baking Competition, being held at 2pm on Bank Holiday Monday (May 3rd) at Fallowfields Hotel, Kingston Bagpuize, Oxfordshire!

No doubt you were taught as a child not to eavesdrop … but this is exactly what I did on Twitter a couple of months ago, and look where it got me!  There was a ‘conversation’ going on between Anthony Lloyd (@FallowfieldsUK) and Tracey Jefferies (@TraceyJefferies) on the subject of scones.  I happened to see this and tweeted saying ‘must make some scones – haven’t made them in ages’.  And the dye was cast!  Anthony Lloyd set us up for a scone-making competition at the Community Day on May 3rd at his Oxfordshire hotel.  The competition hotted up when Sarah Steel (@nurserysarah) got involved.  Fortunately she is now back from her extended holiday in Cyprus, courtesy of the volcanic ash, but it was a near thing!

Home-made scone

Scone with whipped cream & WORD-right's home-made bramble jelly

Needless to say, all 3 contestants are canvassing votes on Twitter from their supporters.  Perhaps next we should take on the politicians and form an #Oxsconeoff Party in time for Thursday’s election!  Of course my fellow competitors won’t stand a chance, and if you check out the pictures you’ll see what they’re up against.  Just don’t tell them … OK?

The event, which runs from 11am until 5pm, is an action-packed day out for all the family.   Local radio station JackFM will be there to join in the fun.  Among the attractions are a host of stalls, guided tours round the Fallowfields Farm, Falconry Displays, and a fun dog show.  There is a small entrance fee on the day, with the proceeds going to charity.

The highlight of course will be the scone-making competition, with the audience being roped in for some tasting and voting.  No doubt there will be much nobbling of judges going on through out the morning, before we get down to the challenge … with jam and cream at 20 paces.

So what do you do next?  Take yourself and the family along to Fallowfields Hotel on Monday and join in the fun.  Oh … and don’t forget to vote for me (@WORDright)!

And … if you’re wondering what all this has to do with marketing a business … I’m a firm believer in raising our profile in the local area, be that with scones or anything else (providing it’s legal, moral and decent, of course!).

As a copywriter, I’m passionate about communication.  Remember the old adage which says, ‘businesses don’t plan to fail, but many fail to plan’?  My take on this is businesses should plan to communicate, and effective communication can solve many a business problem.

I was pleased to meet a local small business marketing expert called Jez Hunt through Twitter, and it was an article on his blog which prompted me to write this one.  His message (and ours) is that marketing isn’t rocket science … marketing doesn’t need deep pockets, and there is a great deal you can do to promote your business, simply by communicating with people.

Let me tell you a story … a few years ago I was attending the local rugby club’s junior section AGM … and jolly boring it was too!  The club had several problems:

  • Not enough children playing
  • Not enough income
  • Not enough coaches

After an hour of lengthy discussion they were still going round in circles, and I couldn’t hold my tongue any longer.  Couldn’t they see the answer was simple?  Start communicating!  Reach out to the local community.  Recruit more children … they come as a package deal with parents (potential coaches) … more children would mean more membership ‘subs’ … problem solved!  What was difficult about that?

So we produced flyers which were distributed through the schools, the coaches ran ‘taster sessions’ in the schools, we put up posters, we got coverage in the local press, and we contacted old members.

Just 3 months later, several new coaches were being trained and the club coffers started to fill up.  And I knew the problem was solved when the under-7 coach took me to one side and hissed … “Will you please stop!  I’ve got 27 b***** kids round there and I don’t know what to do with them all!’

There are a lot of businesses out there with similar problems:

  • Need more customers
  • Need more sales
  • Need more income

Sound familiar?  So how many ways could you communicate with people to solve your problems?  Do you communicate with your existing customers, or do you abandon them and move on the next hot prospect?

Why not try this communication lark for yourself and see what happens?  My guess is you’ll be surprised at just how simple and effective it really is.

Now … how about bringing the kids along to rugby on Sunday …

Blog post by Joy McCarthy

Much has been written about the Oxfordshire Tweet-up held at Fallowfields Hotel on Monday 18th January, so I thought it was time I added my twopenn’orth.

The networking event was organised by Anthony Lloyd, owner of Fallowfields and passionate Twitter enthusiast, and Kevin O’Brien from Abingdon’s Web Power. It was thought to be the first large-scale business Tweet-up to be held in Oxfordshire and some 50 people attended.

So what was different about this event?  After all, it was just another networking meeting … right?  Wrong!  The atmosphere and the dynamics of the group were totally different to any other networking event I’ve been to.  Here was a roomful of complete strangers, greeting each other like old friends.  While most had never met in the flesh, relationships had already been forged in the virtual world of Twitter.  Newbury dentist Richard Charon, summed it up perfectly in his blog by referring to people as his ‘Twitter buddies’.

Fallowfields pie

Supper at Fallowfields - picture courtesy of Tim Kirby

The Tweet-up would have been a real eye-opener to anyone who doubts the effectiveness of social networking.  There were no barriers, just a lot of positive networking, punctuated by much laughter and good humour. From a business perspective, it was a very positive experience for me and I went home feeling like I’d spent the evening at a great party!

This post wouldn’t be complete without mention of the fabulous supper laid on by Fallowfields.  Monday is the legendary ‘pie night’ at Fallowfields so we were treated to a choice of 3 delicious pies, aptly renamed for the occasion as ‘Tweetpies’!

I’m looking forward, like all the rest of my Twitter buddies, to the next Tweet-up and would like to thank Anthony and Kevin for making it all possible.

Instead of the usual ‘is there a doctor in the house’, the call was for a dentist at the first Oxfordshire and Berks ‘Tweet-up’, held last night (Monday 18 January) at Fallowfields Hotel, Kingston Bagpuize.  The event was the first large-scale business Twitter get-together to be held in the area and was attended by 50 local business people.

During supper, Newbury dentist and Twitter enthusiast Richard Charon, was called to the phone.  Karen-Louise Allen, one of the local radio Jack FM team who should have attended the event, had called to say she couldn’t make it.  She had accidentally swallowed a dental crown and was there a dentist in the house!  Karen-Louise wasn’t registered with a dentist and Richard’s Newbury practice was too far away.  However, a room full of business people skilled in networking, brought the power of Twitter to her rescue.  Members were asked for referrals for an Oxford dentist who would see Karen-Louise the next day.

Richard Charon comments, “People’s reaction to Karen’s mishap is typical of the Twitter community.  Everyone rallied round to help and in seconds we had the name of a possible Oxford dentist for Karen.  There was a lot of laughter and good humour, but that and helping other people is what Twitter is about.”

Twitter, the online social networking phenomenon, has a strong membership in Oxfordshire and surrounding areas.  The Tweet-up was the brainchild of Anthony Lloyd, owner of Fallowfields Hotel (http://www.fallowfields.com)   and Kevin O’Brien of Web Power (http://www.web-power.co.uk).  A dedicated online portal was created where Twitter

Fallowfields Dexter beef 'Twitter pie'

Fallowfields Dexter beef 'Twitter pie'

members could book their places.  With the viral nature of Twitter, news of the event spread quickly.  The meeting was held in the Fallowfields’ marquee and, after some informal networking, the guests sat down to enjoy supper, with a choice of three ‘Twitter Pies’ on the menu.

“I’m passionate about Twitter” said Anthony Lloyd, co-organiser of the Oxfordshire Tweet-up.  “This is the first Twitter get-together to be held in the county and it’s been a great success.  Not everyone who attended is a Twitter member, but I don’t think it will be long before they join.  It was good to see so many people who have only ever spoken on Twitter, greeting each other like old friends.  It is very positive for the business community.  Everyone is keen to meet up again and I think the Oxfordshire Tweet-up is set to become a regular event in the local business networking calendar.”

– ends –

Note to Editors

Fallowfields (http://www.fallowfields.com) is a country house hotel in Kingston Bagpuize with over 300 years of history. Once the home of the Begum Aga Khan, Fallowfields offers luxury accommodation set in 12 acres of grounds.

The hotel boasts its own kitchen garden which supplies the restaurant with pesticide-free home-grown fruit and vegetables.  The hotel’s farm is home to Dexter cattle, rare-breed pigs, chickens and ducks which provide much of the meat on the restaurant’s menu.

Richard Charon (http://www.newburysmilemakers.com) is the Dental Practice Principal of Richard Charon at Newbury Smilemakers.  He specialises in treating anxious and phobic people using Dental Sedation techniques.  Richard also trains dentists in Dental Sedation in both Britain and Ireland.

For more information, please contact:

Anthony Lloyd, Fallowfields Hotel
Tel: 01865 820416
Email: anthony@fallowfields.com

Joy McCarthy, WORD-right
Tel: 01608 642845
Email joy@word-right.co.uk

www.word-right.co.uk

Last night saw us off to Banbury, to what I believe was the first ever BT Tradespace networking event.  We had assumed there was going to be a presentation on getting the most from Tradespace, but sadly that wasn’t the case. 

Although WORD-right is signed-up to BT Tradespace, we’ve never found the time to actually set it up properly.  So come on BT, get your people out there into the real world and help us all make the most of what appears to be a great Internet marketing platform!  

The virtual world seems to have crept up on us, almost unawares.  In the past month we’ve LinkedIn, and even got so far as looking at the world of Twitter.  Internet psychologist Graham Jones, warns of the danger of damaging your business by spending too much time on these social networking sites in his blog: ‘Twitter could kill your business – take care’.  In another post, ‘Hardly anyone actually uses social networks’, he gives some interesting statistics about the number of business people who are in ‘this scene’.  And guess what?  It would seem most prospective clients or customers, yours and mine, have never social networked in their lives. 

So where does that leave the small business?  Should we go with the flow and link and tweet for all we’re worth, or put our heads in the sand and hope it will all go away?  Call me a Luddite if you like, but I too can see a real danger in spending so much time on Internet social networking sites that your business suffers.  If we want to figure out how to get the most from them, we have to spend time investigating them in the evening and at weekends.  For this copywriter, there’s no time during the working week to tweet, let alone twit! 

So how do we get round this problem?  Well, we’ve got people organised to talk at our FBBC networking group on how to make the most of things like LinkedIn, Twitter, and now BT Tradespace. At least that will cut out the lengthy learning process and perhaps we’ll be well enough advised to to reap the rewards, without crippling our businesses in the process. 

I could be wrong (who me?), but I suspect the highest number of Internet social networkers are people who are employed, rather than working for themselves.  What better way of passing the time (when the boss isn’t looking), than to twit, tweet, and link until it’s time to knock off for the day.  I’m also temped to wonder if this is why we’ve had such a significant drop in those interminable email jokes which were doing the rounds.  Perhaps they’re now being written on Facebook walls or twittered about instead of clogging up the email systems. 

Of course, for some people, social networking might be a useful skill to learn … will the day come when we start to see job adverts saying ‘Internet Social Networker Required … inexperienced twits need not apply?

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