Skydive for Liam’s Lifts

On 5th August I’ll be taking part in a fundraising skydive along with members of the Fermoy NRG Networking Group to raise funds for Liam’s Lifts, a community-based service that provides transport to members of our community who attend oncology appointments and treatments in Cork City. This service is provided on an entirely voluntary basis.

This incredible service is provided on an entirely voluntary basis by members of the community who give up their time to support those affected by cancer.

How it works:

Liam’s Lifts collects each passenger from their own home and drives them to the hospital or clinic where the treatment or appointment is arranged.  The driver will wait until this is completed and then drive the passenger home again.   This is a free service that operates on an entirely donation basis.

If you would like to sponsor this great cause you can do so online through our Go Fund Me Page at: gofundme.com/skydive-for-liams-lifts or see our Facebook page for more details.

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WordPress & Blogging Workshop 24th May

Want to increase your profile online?

I’ll be running a WordPress & Blogging Workshop on Wednesday 24th May from 7pm until 9.30pm in Fermoy Community Youth Centre. This workshop will talk you through the basics of creating a WordPress website/Blog, Content Management Systems (CMS), SEO, Plug-ins and writing for an online audience.

Cost: €25.00 p.p.and booking is essential as numbers are limited.

For further details or to book your place contact Karen Twomey at 0877642575 or karen@communicationshub.ie
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Why Social Media Scheduling Works

When I do social media training with businesses I never leave without having set them up on an online scheduler and, without fail, it positively affects their ability to produce good quality online content.

The benefits of using a scheduler include saving time, enabling better targeting and making it easier to implement a well-planned content calendar.  An online scheduler will also allow you to view all of your online profiles on one dashboard, which makes for easier measurement of analytics.

And they’re not the only reasons why you should be using one…

LISTEN TO YOUR AUDIENCEwww.communicationshub.ie

Monitor your brand, your competition, and what your customers are saying about you on social media.

ENGAGE WITH CUSTOMERSwww.communicationshub.ie

Never miss an opportunity to connect with your audience or join conversations that are important to your brand.

MEASURE YOUR SOCIAL ROI www.communicationshub.ie

Make smarter, data-driven social media marketing decisions with confidence, so you can grow your business and your revenue.

 

My favourite scheduler is Hootsuite which supports social network integrations www.communicationshub.iefor Twitter,  Facebook,  Instagram,  LinkedIn,  Google+,  YouTube, Blogger, and much more.  It also has some great downloads such as:

  • Hootlet – ‘Find & Share Anywhere’. Quickly and easily share content to your social networks from anywhere on the web
  • Hootsuite App – Free mobile app to schedule, publish, and monitor conversations
  • Hootsuite App Directory – Collection of extensions and applications business professionals can add to their Hootsuite dashboard to create a customised experience eg. Dropbox, Gmail, Google Drive, Mailchimp, Review Tracker, Survey Monkey, Vimeo.

While Hootsuite works for me, there are other options out there too such as Everypost, Buffer and Social Oomph.  Several custom pricing plans are available, and each can be tested out through a free trial period.

Conclusion

Each social media scheduler has advantages and special features, but it all comes down to what you personally prefer.  Whichever one you choose, just make sure your business is using one.  You’ll reap the benefits, I promise!

Karen Twomey is a freelance PR & Social Media Consultant who specialises in online campaigns and social media training.   For further details check out her website  www.communicationshub.ie

 

 

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Social Media for Business Course Fermoy 25th April

My next ‘Social Media for Business’ Course will take place on Tuesday 24th April from 7 p.m. – 9.00 p.m. in Fermoy Community Youth Centre.

As a business, social media is one of the easiest and cost-effective ways to reach your customers and create awareness around your products and services.

This 2 hour course will teach you:

  • The best online platforms to use for your business
  • How to create engaging content
  • How to save time by using content calendars and online scheduling
  • An introduction to blogging, email marketing and SEO
  • How to manage your business’s online reputation.

Places are limited and cost €25.00 per person.

For further details or to book your place call Karen Twomey on 0877642575 or email: karen@communicationshub.ie

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Strike a Pose Email Marketing!

Email Marketing is officially back in Vogue!  It has returned from the wilderness and is no longer the poor relation of social media marketing.

Forrester Research (2015) found that email marketing delivers up to 40% more return than all other social media platforms combined.  A strong statistic indeed.

If that’s not enough to convince you, here are some more reasons why your company should be investing in email marketing campaigns?

  • It is cost effective
  • Relatively easy to produce
  • Emails can be targeted
  • Provides detailed feedback
  • Helps build company relationships

So, how do you build an authentic email list?  For starters, never buy a listing.  It may seem tempting when you are starting off, but it’s hard to trust the quality of bought lists and you will increase your prospects of being labelled a spammer.

It’s far better, and more rewarding in the long-term, to organically grow your email list through website sign-up, social media promotion and encouraging sign-up at events and exhibitions.  Of course, offering incentives – such as discounts or pre-sale previews – also works well.  After all, who doesn’t love a bargain?

Some further statistics to keep in mind when designing your campaign is that 33% of emails are opened based on subject line alone – so be interesting, first impressions matter.  Almost 40% of emails are now opened on mobile devices, the screens of which, on average,  only fit 4 -7 words.

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MailChimp is my favourite email marketing service.  It’s used by more than 15 million people globally, so I’m clearly not alone.  It’s a great platform for designing emails, sharing online and tracking analytics.  Did I mention it’s also free?

So, email marketing is back and there’s no reason why your business shouldn’t join the party!  But before you do, here are some basic etiquette rules you’ll do well to follow:

  • Always get permission before signing someone up
  • Include opt-out/unsubscribe options within 2 clicks
  • Don’t use 3rd party lists
  • Be honest and transparent about who you are

Happy emailing #emailisback #digitalmarketing

Karen Twomey is a freelance PR & Social Media Consultant who specialises in online campaigns and social media training.   For further details check out her website www.communicationshub.ie

 

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Local Enterprise Week 2017

More than 380 events took place around Ireland last week to celebrate Local Enterprise Week 2017, with 14,500 small business owners and aspiring entrepreneurs in attendance.

I was lucky enough to attend three of those events.  On Monday I made my way to the picturesque Springfort Hall, just outside of Mallow, for the ‘Starting Local, Growing Global’ Women in Business Conference.  The event promised ‘real stories’ from six female entrepreneurs, and it certainly didn’t disappoint.

The story of health food company Cool Beans was delivered by co-founder Sarah O’Connor who kickstarted the morning by getting all those in attendance to remove their shoes and partake in a few moments of mindfulness.

Sarah’s story of ups, downs and more than a sprinkle of hard work was emulated in the lively panel discussion which followed, made up of ceramic artist Siobhain Steele, eQuiddity founder Ingrid De Doncker, Caroline Workman of Hederman Smoked Salmon and Louise Ryan of Ball & Socket.

After some informal networking – and much-welcome coffee – Noelle O’Connor, CEO  of Tan Organic, took to the stage to share her story.  And what a story it was.   Noelle’s raw honesty captured the room as she took us on her awe-inspiring story of outstanding successes and heartbreaking defeats.  What a journey, what a business woman.

Communications HubI could have given up so many times, but I didn’t

My next Enterprise Week stop was at Fermoy for a joint Local Enterprise Office and NRG Networking Group hosted ‘Speed Networking’ event, where we were warmly welcomed by Joan Kelleher of the LEO Cork North and West and Clodagh Glavin, Chairperson of NRG Networking Group.

Communications Hub

J.J. O’Connell of Plato Business Support & Development Network gave the gathering a great talk on effective networking, following which we engaged in some rigorous speed networking!  I’m delighted to say I left with some useful contacts and some promising leads.

After a quick dip back into the day job, I made my way to my second event of the day at Cork’s Institute of Technology – A seminar by the MA in Public Relations with New Media class entitled ‘Smart Communications Using New Media’.  The seminar formed part of CIT’s Innovation Week.

I must confess that after an early start and long day, not to mention the rush-hour evening traffic and relentless March downpours, I was possibly craving my bed more than the CIT Nimbus Centre’s seminar room by the time I made my arrival.  However, after a quick coffee pick-me-up, I took my seat in anticipation for the excellent line-up of speakers.

The first speakers of the night were Brendan Keary Jnr. and Olan Hodnett from Kearys Motor Group, one of Ireland’s largest motor dealerships.  They talked us through their innovative use of social media as a promotional and marketing tool, showing some great examples of video content.

Communications Hub

Interestingly, Kearys social media focus for the next six months will be on growing their profile on Instagram.  A clever move by the group considering Instagram is now Ireland’s fastest growing social media platform with 28% of the population having accounts.

Next up (and no stranger to a stage) was Rebecca Kemp from the Rose of Tralee International Festival management team.  It was interesting to hear Rebecca speak about how such a traditional festival had embraced new media to reach new audiences.

Rebecca was followed by Editor for Landmark Digital, Jill O’Sullivan, who manages the digital teams of Breakingnews.ie and the Irish Examiner.  Jill explained the impact of new media on journalism and in particular how difficult it was to re-establish the bottom line in terms of advertising and revenue.

The wonderful Gina London was the final speaker for the evening, sharing her policy of ‘Go, Grow and Show’ in building communications in business.  Gina is an Emmy-award winning former CNN Journalist and International Communications Consultant.

Now based in Cork, Gina helps businesses to craft digital techniques for effective communication.  She believes today’s executives need to connect by telling their stories online and leading by example. You cannot underestimate the power of showing personality, she claims. Coming from someone who captivated the audience from the moment she took the microphone, it’s hard to argue.

As I made my way back out into the cold dreary night, although tired, I felt a sense of excitement about the future of my business.  As a social media consultant, I spend a lot of my days trying to promote (and sometimes, convince) businesses of the virtues of investing in new media communications. Many are still dubious, some even think it’s ‘just another fad’.

After having the pleasure of spending a few hours of my week with a mixture of innovative, hard-working and awe-inspiring entrepreneurs, I felt recharged and invigorated.  To see how brands, such as the Rose of Tralee, have adapted and utilised new media to move entire organisations into the 21st Century, gives a sense of how far we have come as a society.

The moral of my Enterprise Week is that whether we like it or not, or whether we feel comfortable with it or not, technology and communication methods have changed.  New media is here to stay, only to be replaced by even newer media.  Businesses only have one choice to make today and that’s to embrace it and continue the march forward – because if you’re not moving forward….

Communications Hub
(source: LinkedIn)
Karen Twomey is a freelance PR & Social Media Consultant who specialises in online campaigns and social media training.   For further details check out her website www.communicationshub.ie

 

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Content Marketing

According to Google, Content Marketing can be described as:

“A type of marketing that involves the creation and sharing of online material (such as videos, blogs, and social media posts) that does not explicitly promote a brand but is intended to stimulate interest in its products or services.”

 We have seen a vast rise in content marketing as part of overall marketing strategies in business.  This realisation of the importance of good content comes from the need for online conversations to now reflect real-life conversations.  They must be two-way dialogues and not one-way broadcasts.

Communications Hub

So how do we create good content?

First off, know who you are speaking to.  Who is your audience and what are their interests?  Secondly, we must listen and engage with our customers, before we can seek to influence them in any way. Building relationships and trust are as important online as they are in real-life.

Finally, we must have very clear aims and objectives of what it is we want to achieve.  What is it we want the customer to do having read and engaged with our piece of content?  Is the content going to stand alone? Or will it be part of a larger story?  A clear content strategy is vital in achieving our overall marketing aims.

Content can be influenced by many factors throughout the year – seasonal, political, legal and financial.  Each business will also have its own particular annual cycle, where certain issues become more important at certain times of the year.  One of the masters of creating content in such a way is, without a doubt, Ryanair who take great pleasure in creating topical marketing material (sometimes a little too topical!)

So, when you are creating content for marketing, be customer focused.  Offer a good mix of created and curated content, and become a valuable source of information for your customers.  Be mindful of the 80/20 rule and don’t alway hard sell – make conversation too.

And don’t be afraid to take a leaf out of Ryanair’s marketing strategy and have some fun every now and again!

Karen Twomey is a freelance Public Relations and Social Media Consultant with Communications Hub For further information Tel: 087 7642576 or email: Karen@communicationshub.ie
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10 Week Social Media for Business Course

I’m delighted to announce I’ll be running a 10 week Social Media for Business Course in Mallow College of Further Information on Wednesday nights, from 7 pm – 9 pm, starting on 1st February.

Course Description

As a business, social media is one of the easiest and most cost-effective ways to reach customers and create awareness around products and services.  This course helps to understand the best social media platforms for your business, as well as the most effective type of content to engage users and enhance your company’s online presence.

Course Content:

The course will use a mixture of lectures and workshops to help build online confidence in a practical way.  The content covered will include managing online reputation, the best online platforms to promote business, how to create engaging content, how to save time using content calendars and online scheduling, effective blogging, creating email marketing campaigns and how to boost SEO through social media use.

This 10-week course will equip businesses and organisations with the necessary tools to expand their existing online presence, or grow a new one, through the implementation of a strategic content-led presence enhancing their online impact and, ultimately, engage more customers.  The course would also suit those interested or in the process of starting up a new business, as well as community and business organisations.

The cost is €130 and places can be booked online through the following link. For further info call Karen on 0877642575.

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Social Media Training Cork

Due to the success of our last Social Media for Business Course in Fermoy, I’m delighted to be running a further course on Wednesday 7th December from 7 p.m. – 9.00 p.m. in Fermoy Community Youth Centre.

As a business, social media is one of the easiest and cost-effective ways to reach your customers and create awareness around your products and services.  To ensure you are using the right platforms and the right content social media training is essential – your business will thank you!

This 2 hour social media training course will teach you:

  • The best online platforms to use for your business
  • How to create engaging content
  • How to save time by using content calendars and online scheduling
  • An introduction to blogging, email marketing and SEO
  • How to manage your business’s online reputation.

Places are limited and cost €25.00 per person.

Communications Hub will be running further social media training courses, as well as blogging, online reputation management, content marketing and content scheduling courses in the New Year.

For further details or to book your place call Karen Twomey on 0877642575 or email: karen@communicationshub.ie
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Presentation on the Importance of Reputation in Business

I was delighted to give a presentation on the importance of reputation in business at a recent NRG Networking Group meeting in Fermoy.

The worlds of marketing and public relations often intertwine but, fundamentally, marketing is concerned with the promotion of goods and services.  PR is more focused on the bigger picture – the brand, image and message of a business, in essence, the management of reputation.

When I asked the group how many had recently googled their businesses, very few had.  It surprised me, but on the other hand, when you are the owner of a small business, you are your business. Both of your reputations are intertwined and it is almost impossible for one to operate independently of the other.

As the old saying goes ‘What other people think of you, is none of your business’ but, of course, in business, it absolutely is your business! That doesn’t make it any easier to hear and accept critique, though- which can often be interpreted as criticism when we are personally invested in a business – which we always are when self-employed.

Imagine how useful it would be though, to know what your customers like, what they want, what you could do better.  Imagine how much you could improve your customers experience if you knew what worked and what was important.  As a small business, our reputation and service are often the only things that enable us to remain viable and compete, especially in this era of online shopping and increasing multi-national competitors.

As a local business, you ignore your reputation at your peril.  If you don’t conduct local market research, that too could be to your detriment.  So, make it part of your business plan to take some time to ‘step outside the building’ every few months.  And, Google yourself – often.

Reputation is important, mind it and it will mind you!

Want to hear more?  Read my previous blog on Corporate Reputation.

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Karen Twomey is a freelance public relations consultant with www.communicationshub.ie based in Fermoy, Co Cork.

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PR, Digital Marketing & Online Training