Extended education talk – Social Media for business

Today I want to talk about the importance of social media in business. Customers today expect more than ever – a peek behind curtain so to speak. In this age of information and of conscientious consumerism, society has come to expect clear information and a closer relationship with whom they chose to patronize. The most successful ways of doing this that I have seen are;

– Consistently updating a Twitter account with short bios, anecdotes, special offers and competitions

– Maintaining a Facebook page filled with well presented photos, direct and open questions, surveys and more in depth information

– Responding to comments left by people who ‘like’ or ‘follow’ the business

Instagram, Youtube and Vine are also places that I have already seen exciting and unique campaigns with, like photos and videos. My favourite companies include Marvel, Glasgow Subway (SPT), Sugarpill Cosmetics and Yo Sushi – all these have memorable and exciting online presences even though they are vastly different companies with different needs. All manage to use these different platforms to cater to their target market while opening up successfully to a wider audience.

Often, in social media, the communication is informal and casual, giving a business a more easy going, approachable feel, creating loyalty through cultivating a more intimate relationship with its customer base. However, it is always useful to remember there is a difference between informal and personal, it is in the best interests of the business to maintain a level of professional decorum while remaining fun and engaging.

If you spend some time building a presence online you can find your business open to many more potential customers than you could otherwise find, capturing ‘likes’ and ‘followers’ who will share and retweet what you put out there – so think about what you want your online voice to be, and how you think people will respond to it. Check out big companies, as well as competitors – to see what they do and how well they do it. Gather ideas and information, and put them to the test, develop your own unique style. Consider what your name, trade and branding says about you – for example I would expect the Song & Dance Factory to be colourful and cheery, which they are; or ABC Debt Recoveries to be direct and to-the-point, again what they are. Both these examples have a strong and definitive voice throughout their social media output.

Plan ahead, take advantage of scheduling updates and factor in even a couple of minutes a day checking in. Soon it will be second nature and commonplace to use these methods, so get started and build your virtual voice! By giving your customers something to read, watch or listen to, you’re giving them access to a new way of knowing your business. By thinking about it, making it count, and being consistent, you will benefit from letting your customers see behind that curtain.

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Adapted crêpes recipe

So Rob, a member of BNI Dynamo as well asPC Support Group (waves!) recommended this recipe to use with wheat free flour, and only a few changes – half w/f flour half gram flour, and I think the measurement used for more butter was approximately ‘More, Loads more’.

So I made a batch and I’m in love. A cinch to throw together, and the best bit is it isn’t sweet, so I can sweeten it myself with sugar or jam (the lemon curd from Pipsqueak Preserves was NOM!) or use it for a savoury snack. I’ve just had one smeared with wholegrain mustard, ham and cheese, folded over and heated in the oven for 10 mins. AMAZING!Next I’ll be trying the batter to make Yorkshire Puddings, and will report back.

So far, its a keeper. Slightly different from a normal pancake batter, I think the inclusion of the gram flour really gives it a unique flavour and opens it up to more culinary uses!

Here is the adapted recipe, the original is linked above. I also ended doubling the original recipe, which is accounted for below.

Ingredients

70 gram(s) unsalted butter melted (plus more for frying)
150 gram(s) plain flour
150 gram(s) gram flour (I get mine from a local take away but most shops should stock it)
650 ml milk
2 medium egg(s)

Using a shallow pan, melt the butter and let cool.

Put the flour, milk and egg into a blender and whiz. Pour into a jug and stir in the melted butter. If you’re making the batter in advance, don’t put the melted butter into the mix until you’re read to starting cooking.

Heat a dry pan, and ladle 2–3 tablespoons of batter into the pan, quickly holding it up and swirling so that the batter forms a quick, thin pancake covering the base of the pan. This will cook in a minute so flip it and cook for 30 seconds to a minute on the other side, then remove to a plate.

Repeat until your batter is finished! I made around 15-16 of these bad boys, when the remaining ones were cool (you can bet your last dollah I had a few warm!) I wrapped them on the plate with cling film and they’re still yummy 2 days later.

If you try them, let me know how you get on!

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