Gingham Cloud 9: Social media tricks for Hallowe’en

It’s Hallowe’en so we’re treating you to nine quick “tricks” to help up your social media game.
Biographies – we’re all guilty of this. Branding strategist Phil Pallen says this is the one  thing that can make or break whether someone follows you. Do ensure your Twitter/Insta/Facebook bios are really the best they can be (and update that linkinbio on your Insta already!)

Stronger Together 
facebookgroupIf you’ve not got a Facebook group going on yet, you need to – with the organic reach of business pages continuing its decline, the advantages of groups are showing real returns, especially as members can opt in to receive notifications of activities.

Images. Again.

We say this time and time again – a picture paints a thousand words but more importantly improves your engagement. By adding images to your social media you can increase engagement by 120%. On LinkedIn, links with Videos typically result in a 75 percent higher rate share and links with images result in a 98 percent higher comment rate.
Gifs –  wooo okay! It’s true – Gifs are always fun and good for a quick RT on Twitter.

Ask, nicely and it works.
Use the right words to improve engagement: Buddy Media found that action keywords like “post,” “comment,” “take,” “submit,” “like” or “tell us” are the most effective.

Timing is all
All the analysis points to Facebook traffic peaking between the hours of 1pm and 3pm.

Little and often.  Make fan/follower management as much a part of your daily routine as posting content — this is a good way to build your brand.

Words and Pictures


If in doubt, try an infographic – this extract from a brilliant but HUGE one from MyCleverAgency illustrates the perfect post on most networks.

And finally, please don’t forget the call to action – if you’ve enjoyed these tricks why not get in touch to see how else we can help?


Act fast to opt out of data sharing between Facebook and WhatsApp

whatsappUsers of the messaging giant WhatsApp have been irked by the news that not only are there ads on the way but also that parent company Facebook will be receiving info from your Whatsapp feed to help target your ads and “improve your experience.”

Now, do rest assured, this does not mean that your Whatsapp activity will be posted on your wall anywhere by Facebook or anyway. But the data will be used to send info between the companies to create an advertising profile for you. And these messages are often some of our most intimate.

So if you want to opt out of this there are two things you can do and both take approx 10 seconds.


When you next log in to WhatsApp you’ll probably see new terms pop up.

(as an aside may I say how much I love the graphic)

When they do – click on READ our Terms

and you can use the button to switch off sharing.










But oh no! What if you HAVE ALREADY ticked the new terms (or you aren’t sure if you have). We’re all guilty of all just ticking those boxes. In fact 2012 research cited here on Time.Com   suggests it would take SEVENTY SIX DAY to read all the T&Cs we are supposedto read. Seventy six days, people!
Anyway the good news is, you can still opt out over the next 30 days by the 26 September 20IMG_324816

Go to Settings

Go to Account

Go to Sharing

Unslide the Share My Account Info button



And you’re done.

9 things we learned at #TNWEUROPE2016

Life is about moments.

1 Stansted Airport is not the super easy quick airport it used to be. I’m sad about this as I served on its Consultative Committee between 2011-13 while it was part of BAA and this was not the airport that was planned then.
2 Traffic jams are bearable if your taxi is a Tesla. Schiphol airport’s state-of-the-art taxi fleet is comprised of 167 Tesla Model S cars in a bid to reduce its carbon footprint.











3 As Amsterdam’s the Start up capital of Europe, there were hipsters everywhere… Not for them the traditional burger van, or even an airstream (though there was one of those.) Oh no – the coffee cart was a wicker hamper-be-decked vintage Mini.Very cool.



4 In the communications workshop which was ably lead in a remarkably steam-punk style building by Stephan Fountain from PR CO, we learned the key to great PR is “finding your why. People don’t buy what you do – they buy why you do it. (For more on this and if you have a quick 18 mins to spare (it’s well worth it) watch Simon Sinek’s Start with Why Ted talk.
Once you know why your business does what it does – its higher purpose – then you can build your story on this.

5. Moving picture files are NOT a fad.
Adam Leibsohn of Giphy answered the question we all want the answer to –

it’s pronounced gif not jif.

He spoke about how the whole range of human emotion can be summed up in 5 second videos and more interestingly, how language has evolved from words back to to pictures.



6. Aparna Chennapragada, director of Product at Google explained how artificial intelligence can be amazing. And her rules apply to services as well as product. When designing anything new, you need to balance the wow moments (where your product delights) with the occasional what the hell moments (where expectations aren’t met)
AI can be amazing – and anything that machines find easy and people find hard should be outsourced in this way. BUT you need to make sure the good massively outweighs the bad.

7. Julie Zhou from Facebook talked about the aha moment. If you set out to solve a problem with a clear idea of how a solution is going to work out, when you hit setbacks (and you will) you’re more likely to be demoralised.

Teams that fall in love with a problem and have conviction that what they’re trying to achieve is meaningful are much more likely to continue to find a successful solution.

8 The catalyst for my trip was  funny, energetic and inspirational Gary Vaynerchuk from Vaynermedia The fast talkin’, fast movin’, hustlin’ entrepreneur speaks the truth when he says that patience is all and if you want the results, you gotta put in the hard work – and that means no complaining.

“We need to recalibrate our definition of success”

9. Buzzfeed’s Matt Stopera talked about how his stolen iPhone which ended up in provincial China taught him the importance of not judging a book by its cover. Or in this case, a country and its people by what your country’s media says

What did you think of TNW? Let us know on Twitter.



Getting things done

A problem that many entrepreneurs have is merely getting things done.

Focus is often a problem as there are so many ideas bubbling and fizzing away in their heads that they run out of “RAM” – I am sure the reason I sometimes can’t remember where my keys are is because my head has too many song lyrics locked in.


Pixar’s Oscar winning movie Inside Out explores in a touching way how memories work with the idea that our brains house some kind of deep storage.

David Allen’s productivity book “Getting Things Done” is my bible for getting all those ideas or “open loops” out of your head so that you can concentrate.


If you have two minutes and twenty two seconds to spare, watch this video which explains it really neatly.

One key point he makes is ensuring that your to-do list is filled with the right tasks.
For example, if your project is to clear out and redecorate your spare room but your friend has left some of their stuff in it from the last time he came to stay, the next action on your list isn’t “research colour schemes on Pinterest” but actually “call friend to pick up their stuff”

Many find that once they’ve stopped vaguely thinking about “whether we should go skiing next year?” or “how can we win that customer?” or worrying that they will forget to call the client at the right time that their brain can work in more creative ways elsewhere.

Having relevant next actions for managing your communications output is another good way of clearing relevant headspace to ensure that you’re focused on what you want to say and when is the right time to say it.

David Allen also quite rightly says “You can do anything but you can’t do everything” – and in terms of social media, he’s certainly right. Pick your platform and perfect your participation.

How do you prevent overwhelm? Let us know.

9 Celebs you may not be following on Twitter


When people join Twitter one of the first things they realise is that it’s only as good as the people they are following. A few celebrities come up and in particular those with gazillions of followers or believers. Kardashians aside, there are a few which Twitter may even suggest. @StephenFry and Jonathan Ross @wossy were early adopters of the site and really got into it.

So today, inspired by Emma Watson’s awesome use of Twitter to found her book club, OurSharedShelf, our inaugural Gingham Cloud 9 is a round up of celebrities who are great to follow on Twitter but you may have missed.

@EmWatson – funny, likeable, relatable but still getting things done.
2 @JamesBlunt – the British songwriter regularly pulls out cutting one-liners which shut down trolls fast.
3 @OliviaWilde – tweets hilariously e.g. “in a thousand years archeologists will dig up tanning beds and think we fried people as punishment.”
4 @JamieOliver – Don’t worry, the Naked Chef doesn’t fill up your timeline with pictures of his lunch.
5 @EddieIzzard – you’d expect wit from the clever comic and he doesn’t disappoint.
6 @annakendrick47 – Pitch Perfect, as you’d expect from the witty actress.
7 @MisterEdByrne – the former voice of the Carphone Warehouse is brilliant and we won’t hear a word against him.
8 @EvaLongoria – Working with the French brand Cointreau, the former Desperate Housewife is anything but, and using her social media cachet to bring attention to the her charity, the Eva Longoria Foundation, which “helps Latinas build better futures for themselves and their families through education and entrepreneurship.”
9 @ZachBraff – the Scrubs star loves Twitter and his fans and it shows.
Are there any we’ve missed from the list? Let us know.

Quick start tips for newbies on Instagram

So the fab hipster app that makes life look fabulous at any hour of the day or night, continues to be the fastest growing social network in the Western world. In fact, today’s news that Lux, the name of one of its most popular filter, is also one of the most popular baby names in the USA , shows just how wide its reach is.

We were inspired to pull together this infographic by a recent meeting. The individual in question has a likeable, successful personal brand and is doing brilliant things with newsletters and on LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter but has been reluctant to get stuck into Instagram, even though the individuality it conveys would work well for the business. You don’t need to post every day, but it’s a great platform for providing insight into your working day, sharing quotes and showcasing products.

Quick Start Guide

So if you’re not on it, why not?

Download the app onto your smartphone

Snap a pic from within it OR choose one from your gallery. Remember Instagram prefers square images, though you can now change to landscape or portrait.

Add a filter if you’d like. Some will change pictures to look like Polaroid photos of old or lovely sepia Bagpuss like images. Try really hard not to get too bogged down with filters and frames.  (For what it’s worth, we like Reyes. A lot.)

Add a comment/caption with the picture and choose a hashtag,

You can quickly gain followers as the app suggests your own contacts and others to follow. Plus the link in your biography can help bring followers back to your business.

This info graphic shares some quick tips to get you started. Did we miss any? Let us know.
Intro to Insta-2

The Archers and #SocialMediaMarketing Part 2

So the Archers theme continues.

It turns out that Emma’s going to make a website for the Grundy Turkey business. She hasn’t done it before but she says she can research it online.
There are many different companies who will provide a “site in a box” ready to go but it’s the conent that will set you apart from your competition – and that’s where digital content specialists like Gingham Cloud can help.
“We can take some photos of you and Clarrie, make it more personal,” she says. “even take some of the kids feeding the turkeys.
She’s right, of course – a real story behind a brand and being authentic are key points to marketing successfully. Here are 4 other must haves to make sure your website is earning its keep.

1 A memorable URL – when naming your business be sure that you can purchase an easy to remember domain name.
Geographical names help with SEO for local people you may want totarget – Grundy’s Borsetshire Turkeys would be my recommendation for Eddie’s wares – though he should ensure to mention in his FAQs (see point 4) how far his delivery area reaches for those outside the county.

2 Make sure you’ve got a call to action. Eddie could do with an online shop and the opportunity to pay via PayPal. He could also have a newsletter so that his customers can see the turkeys fattening up so an invitation to subscribe to the Christmas countdown would be a good idea to get people excited about their birds as December approaches. Crucially it will provide him with a database of potential customers for next year. An online shop is notdifficult to set up, if you’re offering actual products.

3 Contact details – if like Eddie, you’re out and about, provide an email address (and make sure it’s checked often) and a phone number. You can forward office numbers to a mobile number if needed.
It’s important that someone looking to do business with you can easily get in touch.

4 FAQs – a list of questions hat your potential customer might have. Even if you’re not happy to be completely transparent about pricing – it can of course depend now what you’re offering, giving a ballpark figure of what a potential client might expect to pay is a good idea. Think of all the queries that you’ve come across and pre-empt them. Your goal is to try and remove any obstacles for a website visitor to become a paying customer.


5 Website Essentials-3

The Archers and #SocialMediaMarketing

There are many things that make me happy but the chance to blog on my guilty pleasure, Radio 4’s The Archers is certainly putting a smile on my face today.

Eddie Grundy, wheeler dealer extraordinaire has got opposition in his Yuletime poultry business.
The Grundys have kept and sold turkeys for as long as anyone in Ambridge can remember but now recent returners to the village,  Rex and Toby Fairbrother are raising free range geese with an eye on lucrative Christmas sales too.
In the face of this competition, Eddie thinks perhaps last year’s leaflets are looking a bit tired, and he should come into the twenty first century on “twitter gram”.
He’s right, of course and even if you don’t know an iPhone from a ferret, it’s easy to get online.
Though based in Hertfordshire and not Borsetshire, Gingham Cloud can help businesses everywhere take advantage of the wealth of business opportunities afforded by social media today.

More pressing on Monday? Check your source.

Working in social media, we’re always looking for a quick content fix – and there are lots of places to easily do this.From a personal perspective, I do love a motivational quote (and if you do too, please follow my board on Pinterest here)
It’s true that some of them can err on the side of cheesiness, although our friends over the pond tend to be oblivious to this.
So this morning I tweeted:
Opportunity is missed by most people because it is dressed in overalls and looks like work” Thomas Edison #motivationmonday

It turns out though, that Thomas Edison did not say anything about opportunity being disguised in overalls.
Of course not every quote you find on the internet is accurate but it was a timely reminder of previous editors’ warnings to always check your sources.
It’s a great lesson and one I’ll be remembering going forward. Apt that I’ve been taught something on #WorldTeachersDay.

Focus Five: Fast Fixes to prevent procrastination

Wednesday is AntiProcrastination Day

So we’re half way through the working week, and by now you should be in your stride, checking things off the to-do list and making progress with both long and short term goals.
The problem for anyone dealing with social media is that spending all day on Twitter can mean that you’ve spend half the morning watching cat videos or creating your own memes before you even know it.

So how to stay focussed while doing the job at hand:

Focus Five – Fast fixes to prevent procrastination caused by getting sucked into the internet

1 Firstly make your to do list bite sized,. Smaller quicker tasks will enable you to stop and check your feeds between jobs while still getting lots done.

2 An obvious one this, but please, turn notifications off – the pop-up window when you get new tweets or mails. Close What’s App down. Try and focus just on the task at hand.

3 This is one I need to work on as I am guilty of far too many windows open at once but train yourself not to open more than one tab at a time.
Decide what you’re going to do with that link you’re clicking as you do it – is it something you need to file elsewhere? Data you need to collate?
Otherwise you and your objectives get lost pretty quickly.

4 Use your reading list facility – often you can check out longer items when you’re off line.

5 In the same vein, have a steal reel – a list of great articles/features that you think you may be able to borrow from to create content for your own site.