Friday, 30 July 2010

Ten reasons why North West small businesses should use social media marketing

1. It’s free - and that’s a pretty good price point compared to many other ways to promote your business.

2. It’s measurable – so you can see how effective it is at helping you to build awareness and generate leads. This then helps you to focus your efforts into the areas or channels that are most productive for you.

3. It presents your business as forward thinking. Much of your target market is becoming savvy and uses social media as a part of daily life. You will be more relevant and in-step with your potential customers and you can engage in an instant dialogue with them. Globally, Facebook now has over 500 million users – that’s the equivalent of the world’s 3rd biggest country and you’ve got an opportunity to market to them for free.

4. The tone of social media marketing can’t be too ‘salesy’ or ‘shouty’ – it’s about adding value, sharing knowledge or providing a credible commentary. Small businesses are naturally really good at this – they win business and retain it by building relationships. This approach lends itself well to the dialogue based style of social media marketing.

5. Social media will generate additional traffic to your website. By updating sites such as Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn with posts linking back to your site, you’ll create additional traffic to your site from people who have a specific interest in what you’re doing. Social bookmarking sites like Digg, Stumbleupon and Slashdot will also generate traffic to your website if you frequently write articles and blog posts.

6. Your social media work can build inbound links which in turn supports your search engine optimisation (SEO), i.e. the way your site achieves a high ranking in search engine listings. Many social media sites use so-called NOFOLLOW tags that limit the outbound link value of posts made on their sites. Nevertheless, many leading social media sites allow DOFOLLOW tags including Slashdot, Digg, Furl, Mixx and FriendFeed.

7. Social media will help you to integrate all your marketing and PR activity – and this has great results in terms of your search engine rankings. Search engines such as Google and Microsoft Bing are increasingly interested in indexing and ranking posts and other information from social media sites. Videos from popular internet sites like YouTube can also be optimised for indexing by the major search engines – they also make great viral marketing (check out “Will it Blend” on Youtube – their iPhone blending stunt has had 8.7 million hits).

8. Social Media helps to keep you front of mind with your friends and contacts. It reminds them about what you do and means that they can either to use your services or act as an advocate for your business and refer you to one of their friends or contacts.

9. Setting up a company profile on a site like LinkedIn provides a great opportunity for you to regularly post updates on your activities, as well as important news and trends in your industry, allowing you to position your business as experts, “business champions”, “consumer champions”, or “community champions”.

10. Setting up a blog can provide you with a “destination” at which you can direct your social media work. If you use a technology like Blogger (which is free!) you can even get some free code to integrate your blog into your company website. This means you can efficiently direct traffic to your website to promote things like your latest offer, press releases or market intelligence.

Wednesday, 21 July 2010

NEWS RELEASE: Mid Pennine Arts brings Contemporary Heritage to Pennine Lancashire

Mid Pennine Arts moves beyond the gallery to celebrate Pennine Lancashire’s heritage

MID PENNINE Arts has announced the launch of a new programme of high-profile contemporary art, featuring commissions of new work sited at spectacular locations around some of Pennine Lancashire’s many beautiful heritage venues.

Contemporary Heritage’s first installation is set to be on show at Towneley Hall, Burnley for a year from 11th September 2010. The launch date has been chosen to coincide with the Heritage Open Days national campaign (Thursday 9 – Sunday 12 September 2010), which celebrates fantastic architecture and culture by offering FREE access to properties that normally charge for admission. (Towneley Hall offers free entrance for Burnley residents at any time).

Contemporary Heritage is a partnership project with Arts Council England and Lancashire County Council. It will celebrate the unique elements of heritage sites across Pennine Lancashire. Mid Pennine Arts will commission artists of national and international standing to create new works in response to the history, stories, architecture, or collections of Pennine Lancashire venues. The artworks will connect visitors to the past of the venues and provide what organisers are describing as “a new way of seeing” the history we often take for granted.

Contemporary Heritage sees the Mid Pennine Arts move from a gallery based programme in a single location, to an ambitious vision taking in venues throughout Pennine Lancashire. The project will make a significant contribution to raising the profile of Pennine Lancashire as a cultural destination for heritage attractions and outstanding contemporary site-specific art.

Mid Pennine Arts Creative Director Nick Hunt said: “We invite everyone who supported the Mid Pennine Gallery to join us on this new adventure. From September 2010, we will use the whole of Pennine Lancashire as our gallery, and in doing so will highlight some of our best assets. We believe that this bold, new work will provide a terrific counterpoint to some of our heritage treasures, and will attract a new, wider audience to explore the splendours of Pennine Lancashire.”

- ENDS -

Notes to Editors
If you require further information, images or would like to interview Nick Hunt, Creative Director or Rebecca Keating, Visual Arts and Projects Officer from Mid Pennine Arts please call Julian Jordan from BrandSpankin’ on 01282 878 301 or email

About Mid Pennine Arts

Mid Pennine Arts is an independent Pennine Lancashire arts development charity which brings art, people and places together to transform perceptions and lives.
Although we operate primarily in Pennine Lancashire; we are also currently delivering projects in Todmorden, Preston, Lancaster and Wyre. We provide a strategic overview of the arts and work in partnership with local service providers and regeneration organisations to develop best practice in arts consultation projects. We have a diverse range of projects at any one time and work with a large network of high quality, independent artists.
We have an education department that works extensively with all the primary, secondary and further education establishments in Pennine Lancashire.

Mid Pennine Arts Charity registration number 250642

Monday, 19 July 2010

East Lancs businesses reaping huge benefits from social networking

NEWS RELEASE: 19.07.2010

EAST Lancs-based businesses have been ahead of the national picture when it comes to adopting social media to promote themselves, according to a local businessman.

Julian Jordan, MD of Pendle marketing and PR business, BrandSpankin’ has been running training courses for businesses to show them how to use PR and social media to enhance their marketing efforts at little or no cost – and with over 50 businesses having attended the courses this year, over half have come from the East Lancashire area.

“When it comes to using Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn to promote themselves, East Lancs businesses are definitely early adopters,” said Julian. “We’re also finding that many local businesses are benefitting from using blogs and Youtube channels to enhance their more traditional approaches to marketing.”

Prior to setting up BrandSpankin’ in Pendle, Julian managed marketing and media relations for telecoms businesses in London and Manchester, and he thinks that whilst these sorts of bigger businesses are missing a trick, small and regional businesses are adopting social media techniques to market themselves very cheaply, whilst being able to measure the effects and successes of their campaigns.

“In the current climate, social media is great for small businesses because it’s free and effective. It’s much more about having a dialogue with customers and prospects, than shouting your message at them. This is why I think it works really well for a lot of East Lancs based small businesses, as they have always traded on the basis of giving a good service and building a relationship with customers, so the tone of social media really suits them.”


Saturday, 17 July 2010

A few social media marketing tools for you to try

We're constantly on the lookout for new ways to monitor and evaluate media relations and social media work to enhance the "PR and Social Media Marketing Course" we run for small businesses.

There are an increasing number of really good free services, so here's a few for you to have a go at. – this is a free online monitoring tool that picks up any print coverage you win. You can search it using key terms or even set up email alerts. It’s got its limitations because you can’t drag PDFs of your coverage off the site – but at least you know when you’ve featured in the “Heckmondwike Herald”, and it’s free! – this is a great tool as it picks up online coverage, but also any mentions you might get on social media sites too. It’s like Google Alerts for social media! – This is one for those of you that are seriously into twitter. It’s a monitoring tool that allows you to see who retweets you most frequently, amongst other things.

If you discover any new tools yourself, let us know! And if you're considering using social media as part of your business' marketing, why not give us a call on 01282 878 301 to find out about the PR and Social Media Marketing courses we run in East Lancashire? If your business is based in the North West we can help you to get your place fully funded!

Wednesday, 7 July 2010

August PR & Social Media Marketing Course

We've just confirmed dates for our August PR and Social Media Marketing course. Why not get in touch with us to see how you can get your place fully funded? Call us on 01282 878 301.

The course will run from 10am until 4pm on consecutive Tuesdays - the 3rd and 10th of August. It costs £500 per attendee, but if you're a North West based business with 5 or more employees, we should be able to help you get the course fully funded.

The course will enable you to:-

- establish your key messages
- write a compelling "media ready" press release
- formulate an easy to manage marketing communications plan
- understand how to measure and monitor your work for free
- get to grips with marketing you business via social media

You will:-

- experience a q/a session with a journalist
- get publication/journalist data to distribute your press release
- win positive media coverage (!!!) to build awareness of your business, its offerings and values
- generate more leads

Don't just take our word for it - here's what some recent attendees have to say...

"The atmosphere on the course was relaxed and friendly. I learned how to write and distribute strong press releases - and monitor coverage. Since the course we’ve had stories in the Nelson Leader, Lancashire Telegraph, Bolton Evening News - plus online coverage. The social media elements have helped with lead generation, so we’ve seen a real return. Overall was thrilled with the course and better still it was fully funded by Business Link!"

Victoria Evans - Office Manager, Uno Coffee, Nelson

“Great course, can’t wait to put it all into practice”

Tracey Taylforth - Marketing Manager, Hillendale Group, Nelson

“Brandspankin’s training has helped us get to grips with PR and social media. We got our first item of coverage before the course had even finished”

Tracey Humphries - Practitioner, Vitality+, Ramsbottom

“Thanks to BrandSpankin’, we’ve now won coverage in business and
regional media – and we’ve been in The Daily Telegraph”

Andy Gott - MD,, Manchester