Social Media and Beyond

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Are you Yo-Yo-ing in and out of social media?

Social media, it’s a bit like a diet, you decide you really must lose weight and join a club and embark on a healthy eating plan and really get stuck into it in the first week or two.  All is going well, you have lost a few pounds and your clothes start fitting better and you start to feel good about yourself again.   But then ……….. an invitation drops through the door for a party/wedding/meal out and you think “Oh I should be okay to have a few drinks and a meal, what harm can it do” – and before you know it you are back to square one. Continue reading


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How does your business card shape up?

business cardNo self respecting business owner would be without a business card would they?  No of course they wouldn’t.  They are your shop window to all your services and products, provide your phone number, website address and other relevant information.   

However, one of the things that always seem to be missing are your social media channels. The whole world and his dog are on social media nowadays, (yes dogs do have twitter accounts), so why wouldn’t you tell people you are too?

Is it enough to just have the symbol on the card? Yes if your twitter handle is the same as your business name, if not put the name of your account on.  Don’t leave it to chance that they may visit your website and find out from there.  Chances are they probably wont. Continue reading

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Social Media and the Celebrant

This week our guest blogger is Judy Mansfield from Cherish Ceremonies.  You can like her here on Facebook.  Judy tells us how she has used social media to increase awareness for herself and her business.  social media

With regards to social media, I have found that people fall into two main camps.  The social media haters, and the social media enthusiasts! 

Of the former – nothing to be done.  They won’t be convinced and I don’t try. 

Of the enthusiasts, I have found 3 sub- groups, and I fall into group 2.

Group 1 – Embrace everything.  You name it, they are onto it.  Facebook, Twitter, Linked In, Instagram, Pinterest, Blogger, Periscope etc.  Usually G+ aficionados, and use it for work as well as socially.

Group 2 – Enjoy social media, and use it for work and socially, tend mainly to use the Big 3:  Facebook a lot, Twitter a fair bit and Linked In now and again, with a pinch of Pinterest when they remember ☺

Group 3 –  Only use Facebook socially and to play CandyCrush and Word games or to post photos of their dinner and their cat.

I have been on Facebook as a social user for some years now.  I’ve had a business account for my Cherish Ceremonies wedding and baby naming work for just over 2 years.  A little time later, I set up a separate page for the funeral side of the business not only because I realised that weddings and funerals don’t mix, but also because anything around death has to be written about with a different level of sensitivity and has a different audience. Continue reading

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Excuse me which platform do I need?

Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Google +, Pinterest, Instagram, Snapchat and now Ello, so many platforms, but which one do you choose?  

The first question you need to ask yourself is “who are my target audience?”  Answer that and you are halfway there.

Social Media platforms

95% of us should be on Linkedin, this is our business suit, the place we share our qualifications and experience, a chance to add our opinions on burning business discussions and share articles relevant to our industry.

Facebook, Pinterest and Instagram are great if your business is visual, so probably not the place for accountants, solicitors or health and safety professionals.  

Only set up a social media platform if you are going to use it.  Nothing looks worse than an unloved Facebook page or a Twitter account when the last tweet was sent three weeks ago.  In the format of the Channel 4 property programme, Consistency, Consistency, Consistency!   

If this all sounds a bit of a drag there are many social media professionals out there waiting for your business (me included).  They can set up a strategy that is right for you using the correct platforms and either do it for you or teach you how to do it yourself.  

Word of warning:  talk to several different companies and find the person who you like and feel you could work with and don’t necessarily go with price.  Price varies widely, from bargain basement to gold standard and does not guarantee good or bad service. Check they have some experience of your industry, if they don’t, then don’t use them.

Either way you do have to ask yourself if you can afford NOT to be doing it.  

Take a look at these stats and decide for yourself

Twitter has 271 million active users, 30% 18 to 29, 18% 30 to 49 and 12% over 50

Google + 540 million users, average age 28 and 67% male

Instagram 200 million, 67% aged 18 to 34

Facebook 1.3 billion users of which 41.4% are 35 to 54

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G’day from our guest blogger in Australia.

Australian Rugby Team



Our guest blogger this week is Phil Stupples who currently is “one of those Brits Down Under”.  Phil is an experienced corporate banker, and recently relocated to Austalia. Phil is passionate about running, music and travel and started running marathons in 2009, with five completed so far,  London x 2, Stockholm, Berlin and Paris.

We asked Phil this question “Did you use Social Media in your move to Australia?”  Here is what he had to say.


I remember thinking at the time that it was an interesting question and my initial reaction was to ponder what exactly social media is and how I use it. My life has not been the same ever since that fateful night when some friends took pity on me while Mrs S (my wife) was in the US and at some point during the evening suggested I get myself onto Facebook. 

That was way back in 2009,  but until then I had steadfastly refused to play. Now even Mrs S has joined it and for us it is a great way to stay in touch with family and friends and keep up to date with the gossip and news. These days a lot of people announce things via Facebook so if you’re not part of herd you will miss out on important information like your nieces engagement or subsequent wedding plans. 

With the time difference it tends to be a bit of a catch up over breakfast on what’s been happening overnight. The other day I was spotted online and ended up exchanging messages on the bus to work – even sent a picture taken out of the window as we went over the Harbour Bridge.

Around the same time I joined the Facebook revolution I also joined Twitter. In for a penny as they say. For me Twitter is still a work in progress, I can go for several days without interacting with it or I can send several tweets in a short space of time, keep up with my timeline and interact with various people. Twitter space is a funny old place, an opportunity to interact with all and sundry on anything and everything. By way of illustration I saw a documentary programme a while back about the Stones on tour in the 70’s which featured Kid Jensen (remember him? If not Wikipedia) he looked like a kid in a sweet shop as he spent time rubbing shoulders with his heroes. So I looked him up on twitter and sent him a tweet to that effect. He duly replied saying that he did indeed have a great time and has special memories of that time. Can’t imagine that happening 20 years ago.

So what about work? As with Facebook I was a slow adopter of LinkedIn but once I “got it” and realised what a powerful tool it can be then that was me hooked! I use LinkedIn pretty much daily as a way to keep up to date. When we moved to Sydney and I updated my profile it was a great way to make sure my business acquaintances knew where I was and what I was up to. When I joined my new team I connected to as many as I could find and then reviewed their profiles to find out a bit more about them. So helpful to do a bit of research ahead of meeting someone new. I used to be a bit nervous about them being able to see I had reviewed their profile, but I think it merely shows that I am interested to know a bit more about them.

One of the fastest growing networking groups on LinkedIn (in my opinion that is) is the RBN or rugby business network. In essence it does what it says on the tin and connects people who are in business and have a love of rugby. Simple! Not long before I left the UK I attended an event and met the founder a guy called Colm Hannon. I got in touch via LinkedIn and asked for his help to connect to the RBN in Sydney. Within a day or two I was sitting down having a coffee with the guy who runs the RBN over here. I have been to several of their events, made numerous new contacts and met a number of ex Wallabies

as well. At one of their events the guest speaker said something along the lines of ” your life only really starts when you are at the edge of your comfort zone” That one resonated with me.

Another of my contacts arranged to introduce me to some of his LBS alumni who had experienced moving from Europe to Sydney. A number offered to meet and share some of their experiences. This is particularly helpful as you get to hear their stories first hand as well as some great advice into the bargain.

We have been here for more than 5 months now and are feeling fairly settled. We are hoping that we get some visitors whilst we are here but in the meantime Facebook, Google+ are a great way to stay in touch. The time difference which is now 9 hours, but in summer goes to 11 hours, means that phone calls and Skype tend to happen at weekends and tend to need a lot of pre-planning. A phone call is nice but Skype has meant that we get to see people as well and the lucky ones get a guided tour round the new house as well!

Did we use social media to help prepare before we left?  The short answer is probably a resounding “no” but then again until we finally got our visas it was hard to really believe that it was going to happen. Then the visas came through and it was a case of strapping in for a roller coaster couple of weeks and then we were gone!

With hindsight maybe we could have done more but until you hit the ground you can’t really get too into the planning. 

Having written all this stuff down I started to reflect on the first time we visited Australia. It was around March 1994 and I was lucky enough to spend 2 weeks working in Sydney. I say I was lucky, maybe it was Mrs S who was the lucky one as she flew out to join me for about 10 days so managed to see a lot more of the place than I did. Anyway my mind wandered and as it meandered down memory lane I wondered what life would have been like if we had moved out to Australia all those years ago. How would we have coped with out all those social networking sites? Then I did a bit of a double take. Whilst we hadn’t moved to Australia we had moved to Hong Kong where we lived for a year. We seemed to cope pretty well without all of those apps and sites. We stayed in touch fairly well all things considered. I guess the main difference is that these days in our on demand world we expect everything to be instantaneous, in those days it was a postcard, a letter or a phone call. You have to wonder whether we really are any better off? What do you think?




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How secure are your Social Media Accounts?

This week we have a guest blogger – Matthew Trump from Matthew works as the IT Security Officer at the University of Kent and shares his passion for IT Security with a passion for presentations.  Here are his hints and tips on how to keep your social media accounts secure.

Password Safety

Keep your passwords safe

With increasing numbers of accounts being compromised and passwords being revealed, how secure are your social media accounts?

It’s well known that people reuse passwords across different websites and across their social media accounts as well.  If you are guilty of this then think of the consequences: the loss of your username (often an email address) and password from one account may well allow hackers access to all of your social media accounts. This could cost you, not just financially, but also reputationally.

In addition there is now a wealth of evidence from hacked passwords that the actual passwords which people use are simply not secure ( and are frequently easily guessable (

So what can be done to address this problem?  The easiest way is to use a password management program. There are a number available and some of them are free.

Programs such as keepass (, lastpass( and password safe ( are all free.  1pass( another such product which costs $49.99 for a single user licence and $69.99 for a five user family licence.

They create an encrypted password file which itself contains all of your passwords. They also generate passwords for you, so you can be sure that each one is totally random and hence unique.  So if one password is compromised, the rest of your accounts are safe.

Many of these programs are cross platform so you can store your password file in Dropbox or other cloud storage and access it from whatever device you have to hand.

You can always experiment with the free products to see which one you like the most and the paid for products come with a time limited trial.


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Something a little different



Are you someone in business who gives their praise in heaps

But on a personal level, it just gives you the creeps?

And you think that giving testimonials is a load of old tosh

But hey I’ll go on LinkedIn, tick a box, bish, bash, bosh.


Do you go on Twitter and do the Follow Friday thing

You probably think it’s worth a go, to see what it can bring

Or maybe you use Facebook and post a little prose

It may get you some likes, who knows!


So however you do it, just remember this

It can bring joy to others and may even bring you bliss.