Month: March 2016

The Importance of Adding Value To Your Social Media Audience

The secret to a successful social media campaign is out! and it’s this simple: Give your audience or community VALUE! Is this obvious to you? Or does that confuse you? – Whatever, it doesn’t matter, offering value is the best way to build a great audience and build your influence on social media! In this post i’ll explain why… but first let’s look at the mistake many businesses make:

Many businesses make the mistake on social media of setting up and just posting the occasional piece of information. They don’t post regularly and they are not consistent. But this isn’t the worst mistake. The worst mistake is sharing posts or content that is all about them! They talk about promotions and products and services. They say things like: Check out our new products! or for a service you can trust give us a call and so on. Blah, blah, blah… right?

Ask yourself…. Would I want to read that on social media? … Would anyone else want to read that? And what would make me want to follow a page or social media account? – Even better… What would my target audience want to hear to make them follow me on social media?

These are some of the most simple questions you can ask, but people forget how important these simple questions are.
In all honesty to get people to engage and to want to follow you, you need to be offering something in return. Some VALUE!!

The best way to look at this is to change your mindset around social media and marketing in general. Don’t think: How can I promote myself  or my business on social media but how can I educate, inspire or offer and additional free services to my audience?

What you want is to get people to want to see and share your content, so they want to follow you, they look forward to your content, they want to engage with you and of course to trust you so much they want to be associated with your brand and buy from you.

Once you have an engaged and listening audience, they’ll begin to trust you – this is how you build influence through social media! – Easy right? So what are you waiting for?

AM Marketing talks to Social Day about digital marketing

Amy McManus owner of Kent Marketing and PR Business of the Year 2015, AM Marketing talks to us about digital marketing:

Amy thanks for talking with us, let’s start with what got you into digital marketing?
I used to work in marketing on the retail / promotions side and did a lot of new product launches for companies such as Holland and Barrett, Amazon and Harrods. Digital was really growing at this stage and I could see huge potential for the future. Digital has amazing targeting options and an incredible ability to measure return on investment. As a marketing professional, making my campaigns financially viable for my clients was key. When I first went solo as a marketing consultant, it was clear that digital marketing was a black art and I met a lot of clients that had been burnt by contracts they didn’t understand. I trained and became Google to offer my clients an additional service, but it quickly became the largest part of the business. Today we are a Google Partner agency. 🙂

What are the biggest challenges you face at the moment in trying to get value for your clients?
As with traditional forms of marketing, it’s the ability to get results with smaller budgets. I work with a lot of charities and small local businesses who often don’t have any marketing budget. It’s our job to make sure that whatever they spend on marketing, they make it back and then some. It is someone’s hard-earned money or charity donations from supporters, so it is really important to us. We treat it as though it is coming out of our own pocket. We therefore have to make sure that the marketing activities we recommend are the right option. This is why I introduced our 3 month probation period for all of our clients. If they do not see results after 3 months, they can cancel the contract. No fees or bad blood. It’s just to show our clients that we are as serious about helping their business as they are. It has to be financially viable for them and they have to be comfortable; that’s what we’re here for!

Which of the platforms do you prefer to work with? And why?
As a Google Partner, we’re specialists in Adwords,YouTube and Google Display Network platforms. My favourite platform is YouTube as you can get really creative with it. I get to use a lot of local freelancers and artists for videos, voice overs, music etc. and the finished result is always really fab to see. We also get great engagement with YouTube and can target advertising really precisely.
In terms of the classic social media platforms, I love Instagram. I like the fact that everyone has the same size space to work with so you’ve got to get creative! Photography is a big hobby of mine, so I love looking at people’s work, a lot of which is just on a mobile phone. Amazing what people can create on their phones nowadays.

What opportunities do you see in the emerging networks such as snapchat or the broadcast platforms such as periscope?
More brands are coming round to these platforms and realising the power live content has for your marketing. Broadcast platforms such as Periscope and Meerkat etc. allow companies to finally show a side of themselves that pre-produced materials and signed-off content never could. I’m a big believer in the power of ‘humanising’ your brand and live content allows this to a level never seen before. It gives the customer a reason to engage there and then, ‘be there or be square.’ It’s like having a VIP ticket to access all areas. The brand just has to make sure that it’s worth the customers’ effort!
Snapchat is a great way to target younger individuals (around 50% of users are aged 18-24). Due to the time constraint, again it encourages people to ‘be there or be square.’ If you’re not engaged, you may miss out on a deal, important information or the latest news.
We’re completely smothered by content and advertising every day, so live and time-restrictive content is going to make a huge impact.

What’s the most impressive digital campaign you have seen? (does not need to be one you worked on)
Aside for our own stuff… 😉
I like clever campaigns that aren’t necessarily massive, but make me sit up and take note.
Marmite ran a Christmas campaign on Facebook in November / December 2015 called Naughty or Nice. The idea behind it was to purchase personalised Marmite jars for your friends and family. If they were nice and loved Marmite, you personalised a ‘Nice’ jar for them. If they were naughty and hated Marmite, you bought the ‘Naughty’ jar. The advertising and purchase was exclusive to Facebook. It was a really great play on the classic ‘Love It or hate It’ campaign that we all know and love, but with seasonal focus for Christmas. I bought 5 jars…If you can market to a marketeer then you deserve the sale. 😀

If you were starting out all over again what advice would you give yourself?
1) You’ll be fine; it’s going to go well.
2) Don’t worry so much.
3) Take a step back and remember to enjoy your achievements.

Any pet hates or practices you see which drive you mad?
They all rest on the premises of fairness and honesty.
1) When people use confusing jargon as a sales technique. Scaring people into a contract is not on!
2) Promising results that cannot be achieved and a miss-management of expectations.
3) I also have a pet hate for long links left Facebook posts…messy!
4) Finally, when people ask for shares to enter a competition. It’s against Facebook terms and conditions, but people do it anyway!

Amy is holding a YouTube marketing workshop at social day on the 23rd March in London.

BLAB Queen: Interview with Hilary Steel

Why is blab a platform businesses should be adopting?

Blab is a live streaming platform where businesses can accelerate their ‘social’ interaction with their consumers. It is linked to your twitter profile meaning that part of your twitter strategy should be to feed your audience to your live streaming Blabs. As an industry expert, you can demonstrate your excellence in real time by hosting focused discussions and encouraging people to join you in one of the three remaining ‘hot seats’ that they platform offers. I don’t see Blab as a direct selling platform, it’s definitely about the engagement and relationship building, which can definitely be done at a super-fast pace. If you aren’t afraid of representing your brand in real time then Blab should, without a doubt, be included as part of your growth strategy.

You also run a business magazine and events portfolio for women in business, how do you engage with your readers? Any specific social networks that work better than others for you?

We actively use Social Media to engage with our audience as well as hosting events that increase the power of the network as a whole. For us it isn’t just about posting links and driving traffic to a certain webpage, it’s about listening to people and using what they tell us to ensure we provide the right content, both online and offline. Our readers are able to contact us directly, which maintains the personal feel to our whole business operation. Twitter, Facebook and Blab work the best for us. We have tried other platforms but we are directed by where our audience hangs out!

Have you embedded a social media strategy into your businesses to help them grow?, what are most important steps to take when considering a strategy for social media?

Having a plan for your social media activity is vital for two reasons, 1) so you have a clear vision about what it is you want to achieve and 2) you can measure your activity and find out what’s working and what isn’t. Our social media plan is as important as our business plan and it is a living plan, one that we regularly update and evaluate. It doesn’t have to be complicated, but it has to be clear!

Have you been impressed with a Social media campaign, which one and why?

We recently ran a campaign that directed our twitter followers to a specific series of live streaming business growth Blabs that we were hosting. The audience we reached was literally worldwide and as a result a new ‘branch’ of our business was created to meet the demand and needs of this new found audience.

Some of our readers are starting out, not only as Social media managers, but as start-ups, any tips to help them grow?

Again, start with a plan. If you feel as though you are fish out of water watch what other people are doing and get a feel for the various platforms. Not all suit all, and the only way you will know for sure is to test them out. I like to think of all social media networks as an extension to my offline marketing strategy and all activities are entwined and not stand alone processes.

Any pet hates or practices you see that drive you mad?

I personally am not a fan of auto direct messaging on Twitter. When I follow someone and then receive a message telling me to use a discount code to buy from them or telling me to like their Facebook page. A HUGE step in the building relationship process has been skipped and instead of engaging me, they have instantly alienated me.

We are launching a Raising Standards of Social Media campaign, anything you would like to see included in the charter?

Social Media isn’t an anonymous world, far from it. The only difference between engaging with people offline and online is that your online words will always be out there in the public domain. I think people should be made aware of the potential impact their online footprint can have on them further down the line. I think that creating a ‘best practices’ guide could help people maintain their online ‘persona’ in a positive light!

Hilary Steel is speaking about Blab on Social Day and has since launched a magazine called ‘the livestreamer’ – We can’t wait to hear about it!

Getting Started With Instagram

Instagram #enjoying #engaging

Whether it’s the most sociable platform or not it is engaging.
 I’ve had 900,000 likes in 20 month, finding it so much easier to talk to people direct.
So why shouldn’t you enjoy engaging with people who make sense to you?

Social media has to be about you using the relevant technology to talk to the right people for you, so that you can build relationships and communities. 

After that it’s up to you how you take them to infinity and beyond.
What follows is something that will make Instagram enjoyable and engaging.

Getting Started
Create your unique ID, url and name which can be different
Add a brief and informative bio, and add your only live link
Upload a portrait or logo that’s visible when reduced
Check all settings and connections to your other platform profiles
Spend time understanding the interface, functions, setting and filters
Upload a repost app on your phone and connect it your IG profile
Set up and save sets of text and #Tags on a text/note edit app
Follow relevant people and brands viewing and reviewing their activity
Start posting and reposting adding text and #tags from day one.
Enjoy engaging on Instagram as part of everyday life, not an after thought.


Be Yourself
Benefits and value come from engaging with like minded people.
Be consistent, creative and confident while experimenting with content.

Be online like you are offline, listening and interacting all the time being you.

Have an open mind this is your visual ID, show people who you really are.
Post what inspires and influences you as well as your work – it’s your story to tell.

Know Your Stuff
You know your industry, product or service inside out, know who wants it too.
Get to know everything about Instagram by picking up your phone and playing.

Tap every button, hover over every icon, tap every setting and filter know them.
Take time, loads of time on the Explore tab, to see what’s good, bad and ugly.

Know what #Tags are used, abused and fused with content.
Experiment taking photos and filming videos, aim to make people go woooah.

Know Your Networks

Find who knows you already bring them via other platforms.
Use your research into #Tags to be part of new networks and communities.
Don’t be scared to ask for help, give advice while always being friendly.
Be a resource people want to return to and a friend they want to tell others about.

Know Your Resources

Instinct and perception play a massive part of social media, listen to yours.

Apps that help
Repost – Share other peoples posts
Instagram Hyperlapse – Time lapse video 
Instagram Layout – collage within one post
Instagram Boomerang – looping video
Adobe Post – Graphics/photos with text overlay

www.ink361.com – free comprehensive Instagram stats
www.iconosquare – paid comprehensive instagram stats

Enjoy Your Instagram

It’s part of life not to be worked at or seen as a plugin, but part of you.
It’s more engaging when you enjoy it, people see your smile and share it.

 Experiment, ignore what people say learn through use to find what’s best for you.

This will take you and those around you to infinity and beyond.

Mark will be presenting a workshop on Instagram at Social Day London on the 23rd March


Social media can be a hugely effective part of your marketing strategy, but it is easy to let it slip to the bottom of your ‘to-do list’. Particularly if you are an entrepreneur or a small business, it can feel like you need all hands on deck just to get the necessary tasks done, let alone what some might consider the ‘nice to do’ projects.

  1. So why not outsource it? Outsourcing your social media can be excellent way of ensuring you maximise this important opportunity for your business and here’s why:
  2. Save time – Outsourcing your social media means you no longer need to make time to do it yourself. No more trying to squeeze it into your day, or beating yourself up if you haven’t logged in to your social media accounts all week. Instead you can use your time for what you do best – running your business.
  3. Save money – Your time is money and what might take a social media novice hours to do might take an expert minutes. Yes you will have to pay for the outsourcing, but that might be much more cost effective than hiring an employee to do it or trying to find time to do it yourself, when you could be out delivering your services or networking for new business.
  4. Benefit from expertise – What should you tweet about? Who to? Social media experts are highly experienced in the use of hashtags, RTs, in-post images and videos and everything else that goes with social media marketing. They will take time to understand your target audience and the messages you want to get across and ensure that the right people see the right messages at the right time.
  5. Enjoy regular content – A regular content schedule ensures that messages go on your social media profiles on a regular basis without you having to think about it. Activity around key events can be planned in advance, leaving you free to focus on the event itself.
  6. Enjoy the icing on the cake – Outsourcing your social media doesn’t mean you never get involved. It does mean that you can dip in as and when you have the time or the inclination to do it. You can use the spare 5 minutes you might have to have a look around, interact with others and see what’s going on, rather than knowing you need to schedule time every day to do it. By passing the responsibility onto others, you can relax and enjoy the benefits.

Please come and see us at our stand in London on 23rd March to talk more about how your business could benefit from outsourcing your social media. You might be surprised just what a tangible benefit for your company it could be, as our client Ali Mearza, leading Ophthalmic surgeon discovered: “Rebecca and her team have been amazing at taking away the ‘fear factor’ of social media. They have taken me from total novice to social media whizz in no time at all… I am now a great advocate of social media and consistently interact and post my own updates, as well as enjoying the benefit of the regular content provided by Get Ahead VA.”

If you can’t make the show but still think that your business could benefit from assistance with social media then please get in touch on 01483 332220 or email us at office@getaheadva.com. We pride ourselves on being the staff you don’t see, but the difference you do.

The importance of using a Content Calendar!

Why should you use a social media calendar?

Social media has seen a huge rise in benefits for brands and small companies over the last decade. It has levelled the playing field in many ways; allowing smaller companies to punch well above their weight. We’ve seen million dollar companies born overnight due to viral traction. Something that would have not been possible previously without a big TV budget or online ad spend. Driving these success stories is content, and driving content is teams. Teams working together to build content that’s clever, creative and share-worthy.

The best way to organise this content and meticulously plan your attack for social media domination is by utilising a content calendar. Simply, a content calendar is a shared work detailing to the day what content you will post on each of your social media channels in the upcoming weeks or months.

So, why should you use it?

Never miss an important date

Some of the biggest drivers of conversation on social networks are events. This could be a big sports match or awards ceremony, a popular TV show or a big local event.

Tweets or posts about happening events are 78% more likely to be engaged with, and by knowing these events are upcoming, you can plan your social content in advance so you can initiate or participate in the conversation. To make this easier for marketers, we built a handy events calendar in Zaapt so you can always see what’s coming up and add in events important to you.

Save time

Social media can be full-time and consuming work! A significant 64% of marketers are using social media for 6 hours or more and 37% for 11 or more hours weekly. As more and more time is spent on social media it is crucial for any business to ensure that time is spent the most efficiently.

Working from a well-planned schedule saves time by allowing you to create content in a focused window rather than day-by-day. It also means you are less likely to skip a day’s content if you a particularly busy on a given day. Zaapt saves users even more time by cutting the process of copy and pasting to schedulers, once your content is marked as scheduled it will post straight to Facebook or Twitter.


Transparency brings many benefits to organisations, and having your content plan in one place for everyone to see means everyone knows what is going out and when. Someone in the company may be better placed to cover a certain upcoming topic or another member of the team may be struggling to think of a good piece of content to fit an upcoming event that your business should be talking about.

Having a content calendar means multiple members of your team can share the load by adding ideas, content or events.


Marketers will usually define a content strategy before they start building their content plan. This can cover all manner of things, from tone of voice guidelines, to content pillars (the main topics you want to cover) and channel distribution (ensuring your spread is even across channels). Consistency builds trust in your brand and allows you to grow your authority in targeted areas.

Keeping a content calendar means you can better see and stick to your strategic goals. It will take time, but a consistent approach will pay off in the long run. Zaapt has a super easy tagging system which means you can easily tag posts by topic and then filter later on to see an entire content thread. Each post also has a social icon against it so you can quickly see the spread of your content on your channels.


As your company grows its presence and the role of social media becomes more important, introducing a governance layer within your business can be useful to avoid any social media faux pas. When creating this process you will want to ensure it is as frictionless as possible so that key stakeholders can signoff or provide feedback quickly, and not hinder any posts that need to go live.

This is one of the big pain points of social at scale and can prove a headache for larger businesses or agencies. It’s one of the main reasons we built Zaapt as a collaboration tool, so that everyone can provide feedback in real-time and content can be signed off at the click of a button.

How effective is your social media content calendar? Is it helping to grow your success on social media and fuel your business growth? Is it helping your team stay focused and saving them time? Sign up for a free trial of Zaapt.

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