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Archive for: August 2013

Hashtag Hours – Networking in your Slippers…

The introduction of #hours is the new ‘Black’ and local networking using Twitter is gaining in popularity.  Search for any locality and you’ll discover they have their own ‘#hour’ where local businesses can Tweet their services to potential customers – but is it really as easy as that?

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Helen, from Rainbow 360 Media Ltd takes a look at the rise in popularity of local hashtag hours, outlining how to use them for business, and going right back to basics…
If you’re a business and using Twitter you should be taking part in your local ‘Hashtag Hour’. The many benefits of a Hashtag Hour include:
• Raising your company profile on Twitter especially in your locality
• Gaining more followers
• Potentially finding new business and sales leads
• Interacting with like-minded people, who are local to you, who could offer advice or help
So what is a Hashtag Hour? A Hashtag is this sign # and people use this on Twitter to be able to interact with other users about a particular subject – like a TV programme for instance, such as #GBBO (Great British Bake Off) #HIGNFY (Have I Got News for You).
A Twitter user searches for the hashtag using the search box (top right of screen) and sees all the comments about that particular subject. Obviously a TV hashtag is really just for fun, but businesses can benefit hugely by using hashtags suitable for their industry or location.followus
A local Hashtag Hour will have its own designated day and time, such as #Northantshour is every Thursday 8-9pm. This is the key to it all, using #northantshour just at that particular time each week will ensure you are greeted by like-minded business people all ready for some speedy networking.
How do I Find one Local to Me? Of course you can use the Twitter search box and type in #northantshour, #ketteringhour, #leicestershirehour etc – but this then requires a degree of skill and a calendar to work out when the hour actually is.
Also what if your local ‘hour’ is spelled differently? For instance if you search for #marketharboroughhour and it’s actually #marketharborohour then Twitter won’t find what you are looking for at all.
Google Northantshour, Walsallhour, Peterboroughhour (whatever your hour is) and you should easily find your own local hour. Plus on Google you should be able to find without difficulty what day and what time it is held on Twitter.
My First Hour… Once you know when your local hour is held, the advice is to just watch for your first week. Certain hours run exceptionally fast, as lots of businesses all join in and tweets come through at an alarming rate! Other hours which are relatively new are a little slower and easier to keep up with. If you watch the hour, refreshing your Twitter feed, you will see what people say and do and how they interact.
What Do I Do during the Hour? It’s not all business. In fact it should not be all about your business at all. Join the hour and introduce yourself and your business by all means, but don’t keep tweeting your sales message every minute. Use a party analogy, the # is your invite and when you get there, you introduce yourself and join in with the conversation – which can be anything from not being able to get the kids to bed, to the lovely Rioja you’ve found, to fishing, to why has Jeremy Paxman grown a beard…. Talk/Tweet as you would in a normal everyday situation.
If someone is Tweeting to someone else about a topic close to your heart, feel free to jump into the conversation and Tweet too! It’s OK. A Hashtag Hour is not the time to be shy!
What Can’t I do? Usual etiquette rules apply as they would at a party, don’t be rude to each other, no profanities, and don’t be mean or offensive. Other than that just use common sense to suss out someone’s sense of humour before Tweeting. Oh and no hard selling, it just turns people off.
Why Bother at All? People buy from people. The Hashtag Hour is all about making contact with other businesses and getting to know each other, offer recommendations for other businesses and they will do the same for you. Of course, as you Tweet other businesses in your area, if done correctly, then all their followers will see your Tweets too – casting your net wider and wider.
It doesn’t matter if the conversation is not solely about business, letting your customers get to know you, the company ethos and personality are all just as important in the world of social media.
Just to reiteration, the benefits of using the #hour are many-fold and include;
• Raising your company profile within your local area
• Gaining targeted, local followers
• Potentially finding new business and generating sales leads
• Interacting with like-minded people who could offer advice or help

 

Are There any Tools I Can Use to Help Me?  There is a great tool called Twuffer.com which is one of the easiest tools to use to schedule tweets, however do beware of scheduling too many tweets if you are not around to respond to comments or @mentions. 

Another is Hootsuite.com that also lets you schedule Tweets but also offers the ability to manage multiple networks, track brand mentions, and analyse your social media traffic.  Tweetdeck.com is an app that lets users do a similar amount of actions.

There are many more apps and tool to be found online such as Twellow, TwiLert, Twithat, TwitterCounter, TweetReach and so on…

Why Networking in your Slippers? By now you should be able to see the benefits of using a Hashtag Hour for your business, but because many of them are evening based then a business owner can be in slippers and jim-jams sipping a glass of vino should they so wish! It’s a relaxing way to unwind after putting the kids to bed, network online with local business associates – and perhaps win some new business at the same time!

So join your local Hashtag Hour – the slippers are optional!

Rainbow 360 Media Ltd is a Public Relations company with a large contacts list in various sectors. They offer the full PR package for small or large businesses, with most budgets catered for. The Company also work alongside bloggers and are able to guide companies and help them utilise this relatively new way to market.
Rainbow 360 Media offer social media training and social media virtual assistant plus various support packages. Email Helen to find out how Rainbow 360 Media can help grow your business. Join her on Twitter @rainbowpr_helen, especially during #northantshour and #ketteringhour

 

If you maintain your local Twitter #Hour, please list your day and time below by sending us a ‘comment’

MyHermes comes to Northampton

Northampton has been selected for a new 24/7 delivery solution from myHermes that will allow local businesses and residents to send parcels in a way that suits their individual lifestyle and precise requirements whatever the time of day. myHermes Parcel Locker will be located at Morrisons, Kettering Road and complements 5 myHermes Parcel Shops that have opened in the area over the past 12 months to provide added convenience, flexibility and choice to anyone wanting to send a parcel or return unwanted online purchases.

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myHermes Parcel Locker is ideally suited for all SMEs, eBay Powersellers, Amazon Marketplace sellers, online and niche retailers that do not always have the time, availability or resources to send parcels during the day. It will also be perfect for anyone working late or unsocial hours that may not have the luxury of using alternative delivery options.
The new service will operate seamlessly alongside myHermes’ existing courier collection and ParcelShop delivery options, with customers selecting the nearest Parcel Locker via the myhermes.co.uk website and printing the appropriate label. Once an item has been dropped off at the Parcel Locker it will be delivered within two working days with full tracking available online.
Rob Edson CFO of Hermes commented: “We took the decision to launch myHermes Parcel Locker in key locations that would not only complement our existing myHermes ParcelShop network, but also support thriving online retail and Internet shopping communities. This will ensure we are able to provide the most convenient and flexible parcel delivery to our customers with the widest choice and unrivalled service.”
myHermes has initially launched more than 100 strategically located myHermes Parcel Locker sites, with plans to grow the network to around 250 by then end of the year. Each drop off point is situated at easy-to-reach and secure locations including local supermarkets, petrol stations and shopping centres.

The Evolution of Cross Media Interactivity with Admiral

An introduction to the QR code by Admiral Design & Print

A man picks up a marketing leaflet for a company. Amongst the well-presented content is an opportunity to obtain a 25% discount voucher by scanning a QR (Quick Response) code. He scans the QR code with a smartphone and gets his voucher; the company gets his contact details and a potential new customer.

QR codes are the black and white squares appearing everywhere. These clever little squares instantly link offline and online information and much more. Why fiddle with finger-led input on a smartphone when a simple scan gives instant access to the information required? QR codes are made for our instant access society.

The codes are utilised by the world’s largest organisations, including Tesco, Facebook, Coca Cola and Toyota. As the business world learns about their functionality, their use spreads.
Welcome to the QR code revolution!

The print industry is at the forefront of this revolution. QR codes can be printed on almost any material, adding real value to any business. To set up QR codes requires no financial investment. The code can be designed and activated in minutes. The only logical reason for not already implementing them is lack of understanding of QR codes and what they can do.

QR codes link the offline with both online and text content. They open up a whole new world of marketing options for virtually every business. From a website page, video, voucher, Facebook, order page and many others, the list of what can be linked to a QR code is virtually endless.

If you would like help to understand what QR codes can do for your business, contact Admiral today on 01933 443455, e-mail sales@admiraldesignandprint.co.uk   …..  Or Scan the QR code below to use their contact form!

qr

Travel Sick? Gin Gins BOOST from The Ginger People

Fondly referred to as their “potion for the motion,” Gin Gins BOOST is a delicious, slightly chewy sweet packed with a whopping 30% fresh ginger – their most potent sweet yet!

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Ginger (Zingiber officinale) has a long history of medicinal use in traditional Chinese and Ayurvedic medicine.

 

Modern research confirms its effectiveness in relieving the symptoms of nausea, vomiting, indigestion, flatulence and dizziness.

 

Working mainly in the digestive tract, ginger helps to boost digestive fluids and neutralize acids, making it an effective alternative to anti-nausea medication, without the possible unpleasant side effects.

 

Gin Gins Boost is the latest addition to The Ginger People’s range and with its softer texture and extra blast of ginger warmth it’s distinctly different from the original Gin Gins hard boiled sweets.

 

Just 1-2 sweets per day give you the same level of ginger as used in recent US trials.

 

Call it a little traveller’s insurance to help make your next journey the most comfortable yet!

 

Gin Gins Boost costs £1.39 for a 31g box and is available from Holland & Barrett stores nationwide.

Nene Local says:  “We enjoyed Gin Gins, and did not have any sickness symptoms on the boating holiday.  They taste just like chewy ginger biscuits – really tasty!”

StopPress…. we’ve just been told they are also available here – Wellingborough Health foods 

Life’s a Beach – even in the Midlands!

The nearest beach may be over 70 miles away but it seems Midlands town centres are grabbing a piece of the ice cream and deck chair action!

The Northampton beach will be open from Tuesday, August 13 until the end of the month, allowing families to come down and play in the sand or relax on a deckchair and soak up the summer sunshine.

An area of the Market Square will be handed over to the beach and leaders of the Northampton Town Centre Business Improvement District (BID), who are supporting the beach, are hopeful it will bring more people into the town.

BID chairman Sue Roberts said: “The weather we’ve been enjoying this year has been amazing and there’s nothing like enjoying a day out at the beach when the sun’s shining.

“We’re a long way from the seaside in Northampton so we thought if we can’t get people to the beach, we’ll bring the beach to the people.

“It’s a great chance for families to spend time together, build sandcastles, have an ice cream and enjoy themselves. We hope it will bring lots of people into the town centre and see some of the fantastic retailers we have.”

The beach is being managed by a third-party company and will be free to all members of the public. It will be open from 10.30am to 5.30pm every day, weather permitting.

Between August 3rd ad 18th Wellingborough has a Down on the Beach event, with free parking you can head over to Market Street, Wellingborough – opposite McDonalds to enjoy the beach, deck chairs, and even sounds of the sea!

Please send us your beach pictures and we’ll have a gallery of the best ones later this month!

Enjoy an evening paddle with the Wildlife Trust

Earlier this year the Wildlife Trust for Bedfordshire, Cambridgeshire & Northamptonshire linked up with local company Canoe2 in an exciting new partnership to offer people the chance to experience nature on the River Nene in a very different way.

Paddling on the Nene

Paddling on the Nene

Following the success of the Dawn Chorus early morning river paddles in May the Wildlife Trust will be running two unique evening paddles on Fridays 23rd and 30th August.
The ‘Evening Paddle and Bat Spotting Walk’ will combine a peaceful early evening paddle along the river followed by a guided walk of Ditchford Lakes and Meadows nature reserve as dusk settles and the bats are starting to come out. You will also get the opportunity to use a bat detector which picks up the ultrasonic frequencies used by bats as they hunt.
Richard Nelson from Canoe2 explains, “We were absolutely delighted by the enthusiastic response from customers who came along on the first river paddles of our exciting new partnership with the Wildlife Trust in the spring. Now we are looking forward to showing people even more of what the River Nene’s rich and diverse natural habitat has to offer at such a different time of the year.”
“We feel that our corporate membership with the Wildlife Trust is an ideal way of really helping people to reconnect with their local environment and we are already thinking about opportunities for more joint partnership events next year, so watch this space!”
Both trips benefit from expert talks by a representative of The Wildlife Trust and include canoeing advice from Canoe2 along with a thorough safety briefing before setting off in your canoe.
Canoe2 are also donating 50% of ticket sales from these events to the Wildlife Trust; the Dawn Chorus early morning river paddles raised a fantastic £347! For more details go to www.wildlifebcn.org/canoe2
To book on these limited availability trips, please contact Canoe2 on 01604 832115 or email info@canoe2.co.uk

Home Instead – Senior Care Provider in Northants

At-home care provider Home Instead Senior Care in East Northants has welcomed seven new members to its team as part of the company’s continued expansion and success.

Care Manager, Lesley Beevor; Administrator, Vickie Wills; Quality Controller, Lisa Jefferson; Networker, Sue Homer; Recruiter, Lauren Keen and Schedulers, Bethany Lomax and Janet Sawyer, have all joined the team in the last six months.

Owner of Home Instead Mark Darnell, says, “I set the company up in 2010 and haven’t looked back. Our expansion rate has been quite extraordinary. We have grown from a single office with three staff into space which is four times the size, with an office based team of 10 and 120 caregivers.

team

The latest Home Instead team members: Bethany Lomax, Lesley Beevor, Sue Homer, Lisa Jefferson, Vickie Wills, Lauren Keen and Janet Sawyer

He continued, “I’m extremely pleased to welcome on board Lesley, Vickie, Lisa, Sue, Lauren, Bethany and Janet, who’ve all joined us recently and have a great mix of complementary skills in care, as well as sharing the same passion for making a difference to the lives of older people in the local community.”

Care Manger Lesley adds, “I’m really excited to be joining such a vibrant and dynamic team and to assist Mark as the business grows. It’s been great that so many of us have joined at the same time and that we’ll be able to support each other in our respective roles. We’re all really keen to get stuck in!”

For more information on joining the team or on the services provided, please call the East Northants office on 01933 358 708 or visit www.homeinstead.co.uk/eastnorthants