Conversations with your followers are a must

Conversations with your followers are a must

A lot of people, and businesses, don’t indulge in conversations on Twitter or Facebook. They simply use them to post information, offers or facts about themselves. But the brands which really succeed at social media and totally engage with their followers are those that have conversations.

Social media is how people communicate nowadays. So use it to communicate with your customers. Ask their opinion on things. Give them something interesting to look at and comment on their posts. Speak to them as you would in a face to face situation and show interest in them.

Many companies use social media as their customer service department and respond directly to customers’ queries and complaints this way. Great examples include Tesco Mobile, Argos and Virgin Trains who bring a personal touch to their Twitter feeds when dealing with customers and really engage with them. It gives their companies a personality and gets away from the problem some people have with dealing with large, faceless corporations.

You can also try starting a question and answer session using a particular hashtag – a bit like the weekly #Chestertweets – where you can offer advice and help to your followers on subjects you’re an expert on. Or you could simply talk about an issue in the news you know a lot about and ask your followers if they have any questions on it. Accountants at budget time is a good example.

Always respond quickly to questions too. People expect social media to be instant so if you get asked something make sure you reply as soon as you can. How fast you deal with issues or simple questions can help your business’s reputation. Nice and quick will help it, too slowly will hinder it.

It’s also important how you deal with negative feedback on social media. Many companies don’t monitor what’s being said about them or even ignore anything bad. Instead deal with it like you would any other complaint: quickly, appropriately and thoroughly. Just because it’s on social media doesn’t mean the issue’s any less important than any other way you’d receive it. So sort it quickly. Don’t swear or get involved in un-pleasantries though. Social media is named so for a reason so keep it that way.

So get involved in conversations with your followers and engage with them. And if they’re having a chat about something, join in. They’ll appreciate that as much as they will you starting something. Anyone following you on Twitter or who likes you on Facebook is a potential customer and going that extra mile and conversing with them on social media might just make the difference when they come to use your services.

Give it a try today.

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Margaritas and menus to die for at the Mockingbird

The Mockingbird Taproom on Lower Watergate Street is the newest restaurant and bar in Chester. It’s decorated simply with white-washed walls and a beautiful wood-finished interior which brings the old building back to life. What makes it different is the attention to detail and the little touches that can be seen everywhere. We particularly liked the large TV screen in the restaurant showing a steady stream of good-luck messages on the Mockingbird’s Twitter feed from excited punters ready to come and give it a try on opening night (Saturday 11th October).

It’s the sixth venue to opened in Cheshire by the New Moon Pub Company and, like the rest of its gastro-pubs and restaurants, puts quality and good times at the forefront of its vision. So there’s a huge choice of wonderful food, a superb selection of wines, beers and spirits and a fantastic atmosphere to greet you when you set foot inside the Mockingbird.

Now onto the food. The menu gives you plenty of options from hot’n’spicy Gumbos and sizzling steaks to fantastic fajitas and spicy specials. We opted for the Too Good to hang Chicken Skewers and the Drowning Cow Gumbo. The chicken skewers were fantastic. Each one is packed with peppers and pork with garlic and herb doused red onions as well as plenty of succulent chicken, while the Drowning Cow is full of flavour thanks to the Mockingbird’s nine spice secret blend and it comes with a generous slug of Kentucky sippin’ bourbon. Both were delicious. We also opted for the house fries complete with chilli and cheese, and cheesy fries with liquid cheese which are as good as they sound.

Drinks. There were a lot of drinks! The cocktail range is vast and features faithful favourites and modern masterpieces as well as few surprises. First up we sampled the Old Fashioned with Woodford Reserve, sugar syrup and angostura bitters, and the Whiskey Sour which is a mix of Wild Turkey, lemon, sugar, aromatic bitters and egg white. One of the most-unusual cocktails on the menu, which we of course tried is the Breakfast Martini as it brings together bacon-infused Wild Turkey bourbon, maple syrup, orange juice and dried bacon. It has to be drunk to be believed! We also sampled another bacon-based beverage – the Bacon Old Fashioned which replaces the maple syrup and orange juice with orange bitters and sugar syrup.

As well as the cocktails we enjoyed a deliciously fruity Salentine Malbec Reserve from Argentina.

Moving onto desserts, we both tucked into a pudding plank, which we can’t tell you about. It’s too fantastic for words and you’ll have to come and sample it for yourself!

The food was perfectly cooked and there was plenty of, and it’s all served by friendly, enthusiastic staff who clearly love the place. Make sure you come and visit soon.

Follow the Mockingbird on Twitter: @MockingBirdCH1 and Facebook: facecebook.com/MockingbirdTAP

 

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Blogging is a vital part of your social media strategy

 

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When you’re thinking about social media and planning your strategy, you probably consider platforms like Twitter, Facebook, Google+, Pintrest and, possibly, LinkedIn. But there’s one other thing you need to include: blogging.

So why is blogging so important? Simple. It drives traffic to your website. Which is one of the reasons you’ve embarked on a social media campaign. Writing a blog and then posting the link on the previously mentioned social media platforms is a really simple way to get people to visit your site. And if they like what you’ve written, they’ll stay there and have a nose around and look forward to your next one. They’ll also retweet and favourite it so others can read it too, gaining you more hits and potential customers.

Blogging also helps establish you and your business as an authority on a particular subject or in a certain industry. Writing a “How To” blog or lots of relevant, useful information blogs, will help your readers come to see you as the go-to person in your field. If you offer sales or a professional service, blogging in this way can yield amazing results. It also helps your search engine optimisation as Google will love your regularly updated content and improve your ranking, especially if what you write is informative and what people are searching for.

There’s also evidence that businesses who blog get more business. Figures are quoted at around 60% or more business in fact. This is probably down to the reasons above. More hits and updated content equals higher Google rankings so more people can find your website.

You can also use your blog as a way to communicate with your customers. Think about why you buy a newspaper or watch TV: to find out what’s happening in the world. Your customers are the same. They want to know what’s going on in your world and writing a daily, weekly, fortnightly or monthly blog can tell them. You can let them know about new products or services or read about how you’ve helped another customer. Or they can find out your opinion on a subject in the news that affects your industry. You can encourage responses by Twitter and Facebook and on the blog itself.

Blogging in this way can save you money too, as you won’t need to spend as much on other forms of advertising, and if other bloggers and social media users pass on your blog for free on the internet, you’ll save even more.

Blog posts don’t have to be War and Peace. A couple of hundred words can do if you’re pushed for time or not a great writer. Varying the length and throwing in the longer, more in-depth blog will again make for a more interesting experience for your reader. Add in other media too, like pictures and videos but make sure you have the copyright to share these.

So make sure you make blogging a part of your social media strategy as it’s vital.

If you want any help or advice on how to blog, please This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. and we’ll be glad to help!

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Always talking about yourself on social media is a no no

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We’ve all met those people who only ever talk about themselves, whether in a personal or professional capacity. You spark up a conversation with them and all they do is drone on about how good they are, how wonderful their company is, and everything revolves around them.

They never give you a chance to get a word in or think about someone talking about someone else.

Many businesses make this mistake on social media. Their tweets all start with we and are very focussed on them. And their Facebook posts will be the same. After a while it can become tiresome to follow these businesses and you soon stop listening to what they have to say.

Ideally, your social media account should be a balance of interesting articles and news from your industry, engaging with your followers and a small amount of directly promoting your business. Send out links to stories about things happening in your industry and ask what people think or give your opinion on it. And recommend another business you’ve used who’s given you excellent service or sold you a great product. You can introduce businesses to each other on social media too if you know or have met them both or have seen one looking for the other’s services.

There’s nothing wrong with being human and commenting on major sporting events or things happening in the news. But avoid being controversial if you can help it. And have chats with followers if they tweet or post something you find interesting or would like to know more about. Above all be engaging and interesting. If you can add a little humour here and there, then do so.

Of course, you use social media because you want to get more business from it. There’s nothing wrong with that. Social media is great for this as long as you don’t just talk about your business constantly. Use social media to launch new products or services. Send out tweets with discount codes and special offers on. And share your good news when you win a new contract or take or are nominated for an award.

If you blog – which you should if you’re serious about marketing – using Twitter and Facebook is a great way to publicise it and is one acceptable way to talk about yourself in an indirect way on social media. You can send your latest blogs out through social media as instalments and make them something for your followers to look forward to. This is another form of engagement and building relationships with people.

Talking about yourself and your business is OK on social media; just as it is in the offline world. As long as it’s not all you do.

#chestertweets can tweet, create content for your website, and look after your PR needs www.chestertweets.co.uk


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Chester Food Assembly - launch night

 

 

 

Since 2010, The Food Assembly has been transforming the era of giant supermarkets to one where food is powered by people; to promote a fairer and transparent distribution of revenues, more value for producers rather than to the middlemen.

The idea was simple: to develop a new way of sourcing and selling local food utilising the power of the Internet and social networks. So in September 2011, the first Food Assembly, a pop-up market amongst neighbours opened its doors near Toulouse, in the South West of France, and it has gone from strength to strength in the continental Europe ever since.

Now this concept has come to Chester.

Taking Telford’s Warehouse by storm yesterday, the Food Assembly showcased several different local wholesalers. The vast audience was presented with various different types of cheese, cakes, honey, bread, macaroons, sausages and even Cheshire churned yogurt with absolutely nothing added but the milk and culture. Those wandering around in the packed room got the chance to talk to the people behind the produce and a lively chatter was about all night.

There also was a buffet, which was full of delicious produce from the showcased producers. It was really easy to get on the bandwagon of local produce especially after filling your tummy with the lovingly prepared beef, rarebit, salad, sausages and all other glorious goodies.

The concept really is ingenious in its simplicity: to bring local producers and consumers together to eliminate a greedy middleman, thus leaving everyone better off... Apart from the middle man, obviously. The Food Assemblies have already conquered France, Belgium and Spain, and now they are bringing the mentality of entrepreneurialism and digital innovation to the UK. The Food Assembly not only makes local commerce more efficient, it is also a truly collaborative network where all users can interact online and offline.

Anyone can pop over to the assembly to taste the produce and to place orders, and collect them from Telford’s warehouse the following week. All food is fresh and guaranteed local – and will more than likely leave your wallet happier than it would have been at the till of a major supermarket. It’s a win-win situation.

Each Assembly is unique, yet it belongs to something bigger. Each new Assembly is another Yes to Local!

Find more about this Socially Interactive community, check out their website and Social Media presence:

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