How to Create a Social Media Strategy

How to Create a Social Media Strategy

Social media is a huge tool that businesses use to grow these days and it is becoming the most popular tool for advertising. Before creating a social media account for a business there are 7 components that need to be thought about:

1. Identify Business Goals

This is definitely the first thing a business should do before they create a social media account on any platform. You need to know what you want to achieve as you can’t move forward if you don’t know what you’re working towards. The main business goals that should be thought about when creating a social media account are; increasing brand awareness, reducing marketing costs and retaining customers. 

2. Identify Your Target Audience

If you have already established yourself on any social media platform and your engagement is low then you really need to consider whether you are targeting the correct audience on the correct platform. For example at Oracle we were using Facebook to sell our digital services and it really wasnt working and we were getting very little engagement so we decided to create an instagram account to see if that works better and so far our engagement on Instagram has been much better. Finding your target audience on the correct platform is the most important factor to think about if your engagement is very low.

3. Set Marketing Objectives

Following on from identifying business goals, you should set clear marketing objectives that you want to achieve. This could include you want to increase business leads by 30% or you want to gain 500 more followers. Having clear but achievable goals can increase motivation.

4. Research Competition

When it comes to social media marketing, researching your competition not only keeps you up to date of their activity, it gives you an idea of what’s working so you can integrate those successful tactics into your own efforts. Start by compiling a list of at least 3-5 main competitors. Search which social networks they’re using and analyse their content strategy. Look at their number of followers, posting frequency and time of day. Also pay attention to the type of content they’re posting and its context and how they’re responding to their customers.

5. Choose the Correct Platform

Many businesses create accounts on the most popular social media platforms including Instagram, Twitter, Tiktok and Snapchat without researching which platform is best for their business. You don’t want to waste your time by creating an account and putting effort into a platform that essentially won’t bring anything in for you. If your engagement is still low but you’re on the correct platform for your business you could think about investing in the ad services the platform could offer you e.g. Facebook Ads.

6. Create a Content Strategy

Once you have considered all of the above you really need to think about the type of content you are going to post. To grab people’s attention you will need to have something colourful and unique as, if people see a blank poster they’re not even going to give it a read as it wont even grab their eye. You will also need to post frequently enough so people get your brand in their head, you need that constant branding so people remember you.

7. Create a Reporting Plan

To track all your data, creating a data report would be a great way for you to keep track of all your data. By doing this you will be able to see what aspects are working and which aren’t. You will be able to see which posts of yours are performing the best so you can change the ones that are not performing as well. 

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Benefits of an Advice & Guidance Qualification

Benefits of an Advice and Guidance Qualification

Oracle can offer you a Level 3 NVQ Certificate in Advice and Guidance, which can be a starting point for a career in advice and guidance or just an additional qualification to enhance your current job. This flexible course can be useful for a range of sectors and provides many benefits. In particular this can be delivered in your workplace on a one to one basis or in a group, using blended learning through our online platform and face to face visits.

This qualification can support your existing career or be a standalone qualification to enhance your skill set.

Advice and Guidance is an important skill to have for many different industries, such as:

  • Careers guidance
  • Government Agencies such as Connexions
  • Youth work and youth justice
  • Schools, colleges, training providers and universities
  • Prison services
  • Trade unions
  • Charitable and voluntary services
  • Housing
  • IAG partnerships and human resource departments
  • Health and social care environments

Not only can this qualification be applied to a wide variety of careers, but it also benefits both the employer and the learner in many ways.

Benefits for the learner:

  • Promote benefits of learning and problem solving
  • Help individuals to address and overcome barriers to learning
  • Allows learners to understand clients and their requirements better to assist them and tailor the services provided
  • Improve skills to ensure effective communication and how to minimise difficulties when communicating with clients

Benefits for the organisation:

  • Support clients in making realistic and well informed choices
  • Be able to provide guidance within various services through negotiation, liaison and referral
  • Ensure your customers gain awareness about the opportunities available to them
  • Able to explore options clearly with a client, taking into account their needs and how best to meet these needs, which leads to creating loyal customers
  • Able to identify barriers for the client and understand how to overcome them, then communicate this with them
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Guest Blog: Framing

Find Fulfilment and Mental Freedom with Framing

The systems go down in work. Person A panics, they were just dealing with a customer and when the phone line cut off, they felt like they have let them down and guilt settles over them. Person B raises their arms in the air “woohoo, paid break! Might as well grab a brew!” Person C grumbles “great, last time this happened they sent us home unpaid. Why do bad things always happen to me?!” Person D looks around for something else they can do whilst the systems are down.

That’s just the first 4 people, in an office with 100 employees, 100 of them may have different reactions. So Why does this happen? It all comes down to how we choose to view the world. A room full of people may witness an event but each will have a slightly different take on what happened, how it happened and why it happened. The reason? It all comes down to Framing. Join us in the article as we explore what framing is, the benefits of changing your frame and how to change it.

What is framing?

If you are walking down the street and see two people fighting, you may be thinking all kinds of negative things about the people involved and of avoiding them as much as possible. If you change the frame of it being a street however and put the fighters in a ring with an official ruleset, the likelihood is that those negative assumptions will turn into positive thoughts about skill, Resilience and hard work. Instead of avoiding them, you will want an autograph. 

What’s happened here, is you have changed the frame in which you view the fight. At the end of the day, the raw data is still two people fighting, you have just changed the context in which you see it. By changing the context, we change the way we see the situation. It is therefore a powerful tool to help yourself and others overcome obstacles and see the world from a different perspective. 

The benefit of changing your frame

Wouldn’t it be nice if you could change how you react to a situation? Well, that’s the power of Framing, it allows you to change your perspective on something in order to view it from a different perspective. This empowers you to change how you react to it.

Consider how you would act to the below:

  • You see a man run up to a woman, take her handbag and run back the way they came from.
    • What would you be thinking?
    • How would you be feeling?
    • What action would you be driven to take?
  • You keep watching the man who runs up to an elderly lady on the floor, helps her up and hands her the bag.
    • What are you thinking now?
    • How are you feeling now?
    • Would you still be driven to take the same action as before?

The likelihood is that you have assumptions and beliefs about a person taking something from another person – that’s the frame you saw it through first. When you see a person hand something to another person, again – it triggers thoughts and feelings based on how you see the world – based on the frame you are looking through.

It is impossible to know the whole context of any situation, so we are always looking at life through our chosen beliefs and values. One of the most useful frames in life is this:

“Everyone is trying their best with the resources and tools they have.”

This frame allows you to be patient, compassionate and empathetic.

Someone’s shouting at you? – They don’t have a better way to deal with their emotions.

Someone’s stealing? – They don’t know a better way to get what they need.

Someone’s taken credit for your work? – They don’t have confidence in their own work, they have a need to feel valued and they don’t have the tools to do it themselves.

What’s important is that you still set healthy boundaries and expectations. Seeing the world this way isn’t about being walked over, it’s about avoiding the trap of spiralling negativity. It’s about looking for the good (because the more you look for it, the more you see). 

What’s going to make you more effective:

Seeing and expecting the worst in others?

Or

Assuming that everyone has good intentions, they just need to work on their execution?

How to change your Frame

There are a few different frames you can look through at any given time to change yours and another persons perspective.  Whilst you can create your own frames for how you see the world, we cover some basic NLP frames below alongside some sample questions that should help you elicit this Frame:

The Outcome Frame

This frame is great for evaluating actions and behaviours against the outcome you or your coachee wants.

Sample questions for this frame:

Did this get us closer to the goal?

Are we where we wanted to be?

What could have gone better?

What do we need to do next?

Has this changed my next step?

Ecology Frame 

This frame works well if you want to see the larger impacts of actions taken. If you feel uneasy about an action taken, its a good opportunity to use the Ecology Frame.

Sample questions for this frame:

How has this impacted (positively and negatively) our family/team/company/customers/community/culture?

Does this align with our values?

Does this show respect to others involved?

Would this stand up to public scrutiny?

Have we acted with integrity?

If someone did this to us, how would we feel?

As if Frame

If you’re looking to get creative with finding solutions, this Frame may work wonders for you. When working with a Coachee, this Frame can motivate them to act. To use this, think ‘as if’ things had already happened or were possibilities.

Sample questions for this Frame:

What would happen if ‘X’ was different?

What options would you have if ‘Y’ wasn’t in your way?

How would you feel if you had ‘Z’?

Once you have achieved your goal, what will you see, feel, hear, taste and smell?

If there were no barriers, what would your ideal life be like?

Relevancy Frame

This frame is superb for getting conversations and situations back on track. Use it in a meeting or coaching session when things go off topic or ideas don’t quite add up to the ideal outcome. 

Sample questions for this Frame:

How is this relevant?

Could you tell me how this will help us achieve the goal?

Are we still talking about ‘X’?

We seem to be stuck on ‘X’, should we focus on ‘Y’?

I’m sorry, I thought we were talking about ‘X’, can you help me understand where we are now?

The Contrast Frame

This is a great tool we can use as coaches and Leaders to help someone pick between contrasting options or understand the difference between where they are now and where they will be once the accomplish their goal. The second way this cam be used is to provide 2 options that give the illusion of choice – parents likely do that with “you can do it now or in 5 minutes.” – the task is getting done regardless but the other person feels in control of an element. As a Coach be mindful of how and when you use this, remember – it’s our job to extract information and help people find solutions, not pin them down with set choices.

Sample questions for this Frame:

What will be different once ‘x’ happens?

How will achieving ‘Y’ make you feel different?

How will your life be different afterwards?

What skills will you have attained at that point?

You can do ‘A’ or ‘B’, which is it?

It sounds like you need to do ‘A’, is it better to do it now or later?

What’s the difference between doing it now or on Monday?

‘X’ needs to be done. Would you rather do part ‘A’ or ‘B’

The Agreement Frame

This is a useful tool for avoiding conflict and looks to expand on what a person has said, even if you are positioning an alternative view. Avoid the terms; ‘but’, ‘however’ and ‘I understand” at all costs for this frame to work. The reason for this is that ‘but’ and ‘however’ disregard anything you have just said prior to these words being used, showing the other person that you are about to disagree. ‘I understand’ can come across as patronising unless it is applied tactfully.

Statements for the Agreement Frame:

I agree and wanted to add…

I respect your opinion. We also need to consider…

You seem passionate about this issue, have we taken into account for…

I appreciate your honesty here, I just wanted to add…

Custom Frame

If you Wanted to create your own Frame that you feel would benefit your life and who you want to become, consider a value or belief that you are choosing to see the world through. Create a bank of questions you could ask yourself to test whether or not you are operating within that value and belief.

Whilst there are more frames available in NLP, such as the Backtrack, Open and Appreciative frames – the above are some of the most useful when coaching yourself or others.  

Summary

Frames are extremely useful ways of changing how we think about a situation. They help us take a different perspective, Understand our goals and resolve potential conflicts. Some useful Frames to use in Coaching are; Outcome, Ecology, As if, Relevancy, Contrast and Agreement. You can find a great video by Stephen Covey called ‘Paradigms’ which explores the effects of beliefs and perspectives on our lives. What do you think the most valuable thing about Framing is?

 
This Blog was written by Simon Tickner from Develop the Edge
 

What are Mobile Apps

What are Mobile Apps?

Mobile apps are something that are commonly seen in almost every person’s day to day life. It’s hard not to see someone using one, or using one yourself, even if you don’t know the term.

What are Mobile Apps?

If you’re wondering what they are, Mobile Apps are applications and software that are designed to run on a mobile device, like a phone or tablet for example. Basically anything you use on a phone is a Mobile App; games, social media, even the basic apps like contacts that comes with the phone is a Mobile App.

How can They be Used?

Now, you’re probably wondering how they can be used for business, the most basic way is to use already existing apps to benefit your business. Microsoft Teams for example, can be used to hold virtual meetings and connect with far away partners and staff, without the worry of having to schedule a venue, time, costs of travel and all that. Teams means that just the meeting time would have to be decided, and then everyone could join from their own homes, let alone from their offices.

Some Mobile Apps are services that are already online services rather than apps, like the Google Drive app for example. Meaning you could do any work you needed to from anywhere, and there is even a ‘work offline’ option, so an internet connection wouldn’t be needed. There are many apps like this as well meaning employees can work from home or wherever they currently are, not to mention as well these services allow easy sharing of files with colleagues – making workflow easier and tasks finished faster. 

Another way Mobile Apps can be used is having access to your emails, if an important email comes through whilst you’re away from your main computer, rather than leaving the reading and replying to when you’re back, depending on the importance – it could end up creating issues, you can access it any time and respond at any time, anywhere.

Same way with social media apps. If you advertise your business through these apps, having quick access to them from anywhere at any time is very useful. Especially if there’s someone who has a query, say if it’s the weekend, instead of leaving them hanging until Monday – you can answer their question straight away. 

More Complex Uses 

There are more complex ways of utilising Mobile Apps, for one, you could create your own business’s app for users to access your services better, that would be affected by what kind of business it was. But by having one, customers can use your services on the go, or check what they need to involving your business anywhere, makes it better for customers to use your services and makes your business look better as well – especially if the app functions well.

Doing so also increases your brand’s strength without extra advertisement, having a useful app that’s branded to your business will gain the user’s trust and approval, meaning they’re more likely to keep using your service and even recommend your business to other potential customers – essentially free advertisement.

With a Mobile App, there is the potential for use of loyalty schemes, which for the customer can offer rewards and product recommendations, and for the business, you can encourage social sharing which can lead to more potential customers being exposed to your business. For example, you have Sainsbury with their points system, where the more you spend, the more points you get – and with these points, if you have enough, you can buy items at a huge discount. They have an app that recommends specific items that will give you extra points when you buy them, encouraging customers to come shopping with them, rather than any of their competitors.

Benefits of Mobile Apps

As what has been stated above, Mobile Apps can bring many great benefits to a business. They can increase the customer engagement that you already receive, and if done correctly, can give you an edge over your competitors.

There is also the opportunity for personalised advertisements to customers and potential customers, which would be more likely to receive more conversions than the typical advertisement.

Customer service can be vastly improved with the ability to respond to questions and queries from anywhere, with much improved speeds than usual, even if you were still working in the office, you could use a mobile device to respond to customer questions whilst you worked on your main tasks on your computer.

Drawbacks of Mobile Apps

Whilst there are a lot of positives to Mobile Apps, there are some negatives as well. For one, most Mobile Apps will require a stable internet connection, and depending on the app’s content, it might need to be fast as well as a stable connection. Not everywhere has internet or at least reliable internet connection, meaning that the whole idea of mobility would be made naught if there is no way to access it, where you currently are. 

Creation of a mobile app can be difficult as well, and then publishing the app can be tricky on some platforms. And most likely a business would have to hire a programmer to create and maintain the app for them. Not to mention as well, depending on your business, the app you seek to make could be in a heavily saturated market, which means you would have to come up and create a reason why your app should be used over anyone else’s.

Are They Worth it?

In conclusion, yes. Mobile Apps are almost always worth it for the majority of businesses, and for those in sectors where it wouldn’t work so well, you have yourself a perfect niche to create something unique, so try before giving up on creating a Mobile App. In general every business could make use of apps that currently exist like Teams, Drive and Email apps like Outlook’s app for example, it would vastly improve the business’s digital infrastructure. 

 

Which Social Media Platforms Should You Use for Your Business?

Which Social Media Platforms should you use for your business?

Now that you’ve identified your target audience, you need to know which social media platform best suits your business. Not every social media site is going to work for your business and generate leads so you need to find one that will work for your brand.

Twitter for Businesses

Twitter is best used for snappy, quick and to the point content. Tweets have a much shorter lifespan. Twitter has a trending page which changes what people tweet about, depending on what’s trending, Twitter posts also have a 280 character limit which means you are restricted to how much you can talk about your business or your product / service.

Twitter has the option for users to ‘retweet’ your posts which is a great tool as it can give your posts so much more exposure which could lead to others purchasing from your business if they can see what you have to offer. Hashtags are another way for people to grow their followers as using hashtags that people follow can increase your engagement by a lot.

The largest demographic group of Twitter users are between the ages of 18 and 29 (37%). 25% of users are between 30 and 49 years old.

Facebook for Businesses

Facebook is probably the most versatile of the platforms, in the sense that it suits all types of content. Think of it as a way to communicate and engage with your audience. You can post everything from informational and statistical content, to a special offer or some light-hearted posts. Facebook groups can also be created as a way to stay in touch with customers and create a line of communication between you as a business owner, and your audience.

Facebook also has the option for you to tag a product in your post which will take a customer straight to your website if they click on the tag which is great for businesses that have products to sell rather than services. 

Facebook has a very mature audience, Overall, 25 to 34-year-olds made up the biggest demographic group of Facebook users. 

Instagram for Businesses

Instagram is best for sharing visual content and eye-catching images – it’s a bit like your online gallery. Short videos can also be uploaded daily on Instagram stories to reach your consumers and create a more personal and relatable feel. With more filters and features being added to Instagram Stories every day, there’s always a new way to interact with customers, like question stickers, polls and more.

Just like Twitter, use relevant hashtags to boost your presence in your industry. Adding a location to your post is helpful for local discoverability. Although Instagram works best for lifestyle and visual brands who can benefit from showing off their products or services, any business can have a successful Instagram presence if they know what their target audience likes to see.

59% of internet users between the ages of 18 and 29 use Instagram and 33% of internet users between the ages of 30 and 49 use Instagram.

Now you have more information and demographic stats for all the relevant social media platforms, here are some final tips to help you pick the best social media platform for your business:

1. Go to where your audience is. Don’t set up an Instagram account if you’re trying to target 50-year-old professionals and executives.

2. Only pick two or three social media platforms and post on them regularly, you want your brand to be imprinted in peoples heads.

3. Look to see which platforms your competitors are using to get an idea of what content goes where and how your target audience is being reached.

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Tips for 3 Different Learning Styles

Tips for 3 Different Learning Styles

We all manage situations differently, we all remember information differently and we all have different learning styles. Your learning style can be one of three – visual, auditory or kinesthetic, or even a mixture of all three. If you recognise yourself in any of the following characteristics, here are a few top tips that could help your studying and learning.

Auditory Learners:

As you might’ve guessed, an auditory learner retains information better through hearing and speaking and therefore is able to interpret the meanings of speech through listening to tone of voice, pitch and speed. This type of learner also benefits more from being given verbal directions then summarising the main points out loud themselves to help with memorising it. 

TOP TIPS

  • Record lessons and listen to them, you may have missed important points
  • Repeat material from textbooks for example, out loud and in your own words
  • Discuss material in study groups
  • Listen to instrumental music while studying

Kinesthetic Learners:

This would be somebody who likes the hands-on approach when learning new material; a kinesthetic learner usually excels in subjects such as Maths and Science, needing to handle and manipulate objects when studying or listening. 

TOP TIPS

  • Take breaks often, cramming and all nighters are not for you
  • Learn new material while doing something active, for example read a textbook while on a treadmill
  • Watch demonstrations on work you don’t understand, either by your teacher or check YouTube
  • Work while standing where possible

Visual Learners:

As the name suggests, a visual learner will understand best from visual displays and use objects such as graphs, charts and pictures so that they can see the information they’re given. Not only do they require this for studying but, at all times, a visual learner will be an observer, scanning everything and enjoying visual stimulation such as diagrams and colour. This also means that they can memorise and recall information which is written down, causing visual learners to take very detailed notes.

TOP TIPS

  • Turn your notes into pictures, charts or maps
  • Make mind maps instead of general outlines
  • Colour code your notes focussing on the important aspects
  • Use flashcards when studying vocabulary

If any of those characteristics sounded like you, try adopting one or two of these top tips. Or if you’re a trainer, by understanding a learning style, you can adapt your teaching to suit, in some cases, a mixture of the three.

 

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