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Wednesday, 30 November 2011

With Passion & Enthusiasm, Social Media Can Work For Your Business Too!

Here's an example from a guest blogger ....

As tour director for Hidden Aberdeen Tours, I make use of many social media outlets including Facebook, Twitter and Flickr.  My business actually started as a result of creating ‘photo walks’ through a small hobby group on Facebook called ‘Hidden Aberdeen’.  In January 2010 I was inspired to prompt local photographers to submit images featuring ‘lost’ and ‘hidden’ parts of my home city, Aberdeen.  Considering Aberdeen was founded in the 12th century with a royal charter from William the Lion of Scotland, and is now famed as the oil capital of Europe, it is no surprise there are many layers of history, both physical and cultural which from time to time are rediscovered by nosy folk like me!

Very soon we were meeting up to do ‘photo walks’ and instead of just wandering around, I wrote a little script and led my friends on a prescribed route.  The very first one started on our university campus which dates back to 1495, and so it continued with different themes over the next few months.  Things came to an abrupt halt when I moved to Hampshire for a new job – everyone moaned ‘who’s going to do the tours now?’ 

However, within six months I was back, a victim of public sector cuts, but with the thought, now I can start the tours as a business!  Without any funds I quickly posted a number of dates for tours on Facebook and emailed all my contacts in the media with a press release.  Our local radio station was the first to give me a slot to advertise the tours!  Facebook was my only advertising outlet for the first month or so until I built up enough for a small media budget. 

Meanwhile I started a Twitter account for Hidden Aberdeen Tours and very soon gathered some interesting followers.  Twitter generated free web hosting, a free offer to redesign my corporate logo and web site, and links to other networking sites such as LinkedIn and the Aberdeen Business Network.  These sites have been unbelievably helpful in introducing me to other local organisations who in turn have proved to be useful contacts for future projects.  I have also been able to promote the work of other colleagues involved in photography, education and community projects, just by a mention here, a tweet there.

Granted there can be a lot of spurious material on social networking sites, but there are many businesses out there wisely promoting their products and services, as well as helping others along the way.  All such media needs to reflect the passion and enthusiasm of the business owner in order to assure the potential customer or contact they are worthwhile!  Officethingy and others have proved this is possible, and I hope to continue to do so with the content of my Facebook and Twitter profiles – promoting the hidden, the lost and the forgotten, but always bringing history back to life!     

By Dr Fiona-Jane Brown
Tour Director – Head Guide
Hidden Aberdeen Tours
@HiddenAberdeen (Twitter)

Dr Fiona-Jane Brown

Monday, 28 November 2011

What Can QR Codes Do?

Irongate Digital Explains That QR Codes can Bring your Marketing Campaigns to Life!

Marketing in the 21st century is all about looking at trends and being ahead of the competition and one of the newest trends is QR barcodes or Quick Response codes. A QR Code is a 2-dimensional bar code that can be scanned by smart mobile phones and instantly connect to the internet, dial a phone number, send an email, update social networks, play a video or audio clip and more. They can be effectively embedded in magazines, in-store graphics, signage, business cards or any application where additional information is required.

A QR Code can be placed on a piece of media – it might be a postcard, marketing collateral, clothing, an outdoor sign, educational papers, and more. A person can take a picture of the QR Code with their mobile phone, and software on their phone will decode the QR Code. At that point, the person will be instantly directed to a website or a landing page. Or they might be presented with a special offer code for a coupon. Or they might simply see a special text message.

Irongate Digital will work with you to create every aspect of a QR Code campaign: QR Code creation, branding, development of mobile-friendly landing pages, social network integration, formatting for specific mobile phones, auto-response email, marketing metrics tracking and data analysis.

Wednesday, 23 November 2011

Can Design & Print Really Minimise Your Carbon Footprint?

Environmentally friendly printing, eco-friendly printing, green printing…whatever you want to call it, Irongate Digital is committed to doing everything we can to minimise our carbon footprint and, through our advice and expertise, that of our clients.

Printing is estimated to be the UK’s 4th most polluting industry, due to high energy, chemical use and associated waste and every year more than 11m tonnes of paper are consumed in the UK. So as decision makers and influencers in our businesses, we need to start looking at more environmentally friendly printing and its impact on design and production.

As a digital specialist, environmentally friendly printing processes are at the heart of our business. With no plates or film to image, our digital printing processes do not produce the hazardous wastes associated with traditional offset litho printing processes. In addition, our digital Xerox iGen3 press not only uses eco-friendly inks, but also requires less energy to operate, and uses less waste in make ready.

One of the key challenges in print production is that approximately 30% of all print materials are thrown away due to obsolescence. Digital provides a more environmentally friendly form of printing and addresses this challenge head on; digital printing’s ability to deliver smaller volumes more efficiently (i.e. print only what you need, when you need it) is making a significant impact in reducing wastage.

We do everything we can to advocate the use of more environmentally friendly printing processes, practical steps to make a difference include:

Use Greener Paper
Contribute to more environmentally friendly printing by using paper which is 100%, processed chlorine free (PCF), uncoated and certified by the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC). Also, include verifiable information about the environmentally friendly aspects on the communication piece itself.

Consider Size
More environmentally friendly printing can be achieved by designing smaller pieces to reduce the amount of paper and other materials used overall. Does it really need to be A4? Design without bleeds to reduce trim waste and talk to your printer about maximizing the press sheet.

Consider Volumes
Contribute to more environmentally friendly printing by only printing what you need. If you only need 243 copies, don’t order 500. Instead of printing and storing hundreds or thousands of printed items and then wasting them as they’ve gone out of date before they could all be used, just print what you need, when you need it with Print on Demand.

Less White Space
Gone are the days of superfluous white space: design that is beautiful from the inside out means making good use of the space you have.

Target your Marketing
Be smarter with your data, refine your message and target specific prospects or customers. Targeted marketing makes an impact not only in terms of response but also in making a direct contribution to more environmentally friendly printing through reduced print runs, page counts and wastage.

Embrace Digital Print-on-Demand
This means that jobs can be produced as and when required (and in exact run lengths), saving on paper, printing and storage, and greatly reducing waste through unwanted stock. It also eliminates the warehousing of pre-printed materials – saving space and resources, therefore eliminating the obsolescence of printed materials, reducing waste by as much as 30%.

Manage your Print Online
Our online Marketing Resource Centre, iCu allows you to order your print at anytime – 24/7/365. Simply log in, choose what you want to order, edit details if required, send to print and receive delivery within 24-72 hours. This is a paperless way to manage your print: no purchase order forms and less mailing or transporting of proofs.

Further green reading:

Monday, 21 November 2011

Get your focus back by taking some time out for a daily and weekly review

Isi Dixon’s second guest post.

Many of us make lists at the beginning of the day or even at the beginning of the week to give us an idea what we would like to accomplish in that time period. That's as far as some people go. Making lists. Some people create lists just to give themselves a bit of a guide as what needs to be done and leave it at that. But how about using these lists not only as a guide of what needs to be done but also what has been done? This can take your productivity to a whole new level.

Taking some time at the end of the day to go through what you have accomplished that day can give you several benefits.

You will get a sense of accomplishment when you see what you have achieved. Looking at how many items you were able to tick off your list, you will feel pretty good about yourself and feeling good is a positive thing, right?

Don't beat yourself up over the tasks you didn't accomplish. There was probably a good reason why you didn't. And if there wasn't, maybe you were procrastinating or doing some serious time wasting. You can make yourself aware of that and take steps not to repeat the same thing tomorrow. If you only ever brush this away and never spend some time to confront your behaviour you will never be able to make a change. So in this case the end of day review can be a tool to improve on bad habits, since you are making yourself more aware of them.

While you're in thinking mode, consider alternatives, how could you do things differently, what would help overcome my procrastination? This way you are planting seeds in your mind that can start to sprout the next day when you find yourself procrastinating on a dreaded task. You already have a solution of what you could do instead.

An end of day review can also be used to plan your activities for the next day. You can sort out what you need for meetings and be better prepared. And with that you can also get your subconscious mind into gear. If you know you have to tackle a particular challenge the next day, your mind will get to work straight away and chances are you will be presented with a suitable solution when you wake up the next morning. Our brains are pretty amazing that way.

A weekly review can provide additional benefits. The weekly review can be held at pretty much any time, as long as you do it regularly at that time. Different people prefer different times. This could be Friday afternoons, Monday mornings or midweek. See what works best for you.

At a weekly review you will take a bit more of an overview of your projects and goals and not just concentrate on your daily tasks. You can see what progress was made on each of your projects and which projects have been neglected. Do these projects still hold value? Or were they neglected because they need to be abandoned altogether.

What progress has been made towards your goals, whether they are long term or short term? Again, do you need to tweak your goals in any way? Goals are not set in stone; they are targets you aim for. But if your life or business situation changes, your goals might need some adjustments, too.

With the help of end of day and end of week reviews you can make sure you stay on track with what you want to achieve and you give yourself some necessary thinking time that we often lack in these stressful times. We rush from one appointment to another, rush home, quite often do some rushing around there and at the weekends we just veg out. Unless you take out some time to think, and it doesn't have to be a lot, your life runs you rather than you run your life. Take about 15 minutes at the end of each day and about 1 hour at the end of the week to get a handle on what it is you want to achieve and to make sure you are achieving the right things. Your productivity will improve and so will your quality of life.

Isi Dixon

Consultant, Motivational Speaker & Author

Well Organised

Professional Organising & Decluttering

Tel: 07732 915456

Author of Get Twice As Much Done In Half The Time – 10 Productivity Strategies for Your Office

Available on  Isis website (with a special bonus edition of Printable Forms, Templates & Worksheets)

Via Smashwords (in the following formats: .mobi, Epub, PDF, LRF – for Sony reader, Palm Doc – PDB – for Palm reader)

Wednesday, 16 November 2011

Subscribe to Lifestyle Blog and Monthly Magazine for Busy People

Subscribe to the Magazine

I stumbled across this excellent Blog and magazine and since I feel it may enrich your experience I couldn't resist sharing it with you.  Register and enjoy.

Rather than simply tweet their url, the following is reproduced from the site but only for the purposes of  explanation and so that visitors to my blog in the future may benefit from the link.  Please visit the site to find out more and to subscribe. 

Olé is an office lifestyle blog and monthly magazine for busy people. Watch this space for must-read office and career advice, along with ideas for your lunch, competitions and funny stuff to make your nine-to-five go by quicker. Think about it as entertainment even your boss would love.
The best of our daily blog gets put into our monthly magazine, which you can subscribe to and receive straight to your email inbox, to make sure you’re the first in line for our promotions and prizes.
Our articles fall into three categories:
o    Notice Board posts are just like the ones on your office wall: funny news stories, hot topics for the water cooler, advice in the shape of reader letters and a caption competition
o    On the Job features everything you need to succeed in your career from office news to CV tips; buying office supplies to aspirational interviews with successful professionals
o    Lunch Break is to be enjoyed over a sandwich – featuring lunch ideas, office fashion, celebrity gossip, events for your calendar and gym class reviews.

Monday, 14 November 2011

Social media change... social media satire edition 36.

Social media change... social media satire edition 36.

Attention Bloggers. Guest Posts Required!

OfficeThingy works hard not to be your average office supplies web store. Price is important but so are valuable additionals that can give incremental value and  personality. Call it the X factor if you like.  Marketers might call it a USP or differentiation.

With this in mind, since July  2010, my ambition has been to provide more than just another stationery web store.  With this blog I hoped to build a resource and I reckon the 17,000 + page views so far points towards some success. Much more still to do though.

So, if you have a product or service you'd like to share and there's relevancy or some link with office supplies, social media, shopping on line ... please get in touch and I'll give your business a guest post.  

There's nothing in it for me.  No charge for you.  Just a sincere opportunity to share.  Who knows what might be posted here over the coming weeks.  What's to loose?

I manage Twitter business pages with in excess of 12,000 followers and regularly email my customers and browsers, and I share my posts. You never know what a post might lead to - for YOU.  

And that's the beauty of social media. You never know what you're going to get back.

If you are interested in sharing through this blog please reply with a comment.  Have a look back at my post over the last year... see what you think.

Here's to the next post!

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