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Small Business Saturday ‪#SmallBizSatUK @SmallBizSatUK

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small business saturdayAre you a small business? Then read on……

Small Business Saturday is taking the press, internet and Twitter by storm. It’s mission is clear; To get the UK to support small businesses; not just on December 7th, but all-year-round.

Small Business Saturday is a grass-roots campaign that encourages people to ‘shop local’ and support small businesses in their communities.

It is traditionally an American shopping holiday held on the Saturday after Thanksgiving, one of the busiest shopping days of the year. The initiative started in 2010, and has generated a lot of custom for small businesses. And now we want to bring it to our fair shores here in the UK, to support those small businesses who are the lifeblood of our economy.

In the U.S. last year, Small Business Saturday achieved $5.5 (£3.5) billion in sales to small businesses, and led to an increase in long-term custom.

So, why do we need one in the UK?

Our nation’s small businesses provide almost two thirds of private sector employment and almost half of private sector turnover.

Chuka Umunna – The Shadow Secretary of State for Business, Innovation & Skills – quite rightly thinks that they deserve some recognition, and is bringing the initiative to the UK – for an introduction to Chuka’s thoughts, visit this article.

When is it?

Small Business Saturday in the UK will take place on the 7th December, one of our busiest shopping days of the year. I am championing this campaign and working with my personal clients to spread the word and get involved.

Who’s supporting it?

  • American Express will be supporting the campaign on this side of the pond as well, and they aren’t the only ones!
  • David Cameron has voiced his support on Twitter, as President Obama did in the U.S. version last year.
  • The Federation of Small Businesses is backing it, a forum for Private Business, the Association of Convenience Stores, the British Chamber of Commerce and the Association of Town & City Management representing hundreds of thousands of local businesses.
  • Ingenious Britain, the small business champions, and Start-up Britain, who aim to support countless entrepreneurs, are also lending their undying support to the initiative.

So, what are you waiting for? Sign up for one of the goodie-bags, share your stories and let’s get Britain supporting our fantastic small businesses and if you are one of them…what can you do?

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Brand, Campaigns, Content, Online PR and Marketing, Psychology, Small Biz, Social Media, Startup, Strategy, THE BLOG

The importance of social in business #SMWLDN

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SMWLDNSocial Media Week London #SMWLDN this week is on a roll and I don’t know about you, but my brain is doing a fair few 360s, whirring away with stats, promises from the big guns and not to mention the good old online buzz words…and it’s only day 2! But, I’ve already done some champion networking and looking forward to the rest of the week for much of the same.

I wanted to draw your attention to a couple of questions that have popped up as they have been on mind for quite some time.  And that is; how important social is in business. It seemed to be the biggest point made on Monday at various talks.

I am flagging this up today because many clients and brands I have come across or worked with this year, still don’t realize this.

Some do, some understand they have to have it, but don’t get the bigger picture, which is that social is only a part of their brand or businesses marketing efforts.  A part of the jigsaw, that needs to be aligned with everything else to succeed properly and to get the best results.  Some feel that if they hire someone to manage their Facebook and Twitter pages, they have it covered but where is the continuity? The coherent, collaborative module that has been proven time and time again in large organisations to succeed in a marketing situation? Heads together around a table, thrashing out ideas and ways in which to roll them out? Collaboration and involving as many key folk as possible when writing a strategy is of the upmost importance and these views were also shared with @Nokia and @Virgin at both of their seminars on Monday. The online marketer simply has to be a part of sales, marketing and operations chats too, in small businesses they may take on these roles themselves but shouldn’t be held completely responsible unless it’s part of their remit and signed off.

We are, as a nation of consumers and end users are becoming much more savvy in the way we think and buy which in turn, makes us more choosy with whom we convey our loyalty. But this does, however, put social right at the heart of it all.

We are more likely to go to a particular restaurant if we see a tweet of a delicious looking dish on our friends instagram feed.  We are more likely to go and watch a film if someone we admire, like or trust, shouts about it on Twitter and we are definitely going to understand more about how to run our businesses if we read informative, apposite content.

Did you know that the average person goes on Facebook 14 times a day? That’s 14 times a day you are missing an opportunity to engage your audiences. Ok –  Facebook isn’t the best channel for acquisition, but for ensuring repeat business, building brand story, increasing reach? It’s significant.

Social brands are realizing that their best advocates are their fans/customers/users. They are also understanding that sharing is essential  so with this in mind and keeping a watchful eye on startups that are true advocates to this theory (i.e. happened to hear @nickholzherr from @WhiskTeam chatting at #likeminds event on Monday – his brand is a perfect example) where will this be going in the future? Development equals, quicker, easier, better design, more emotion, more connections, more…. everything right?

I’m sure every tech startup wants the end user experience to be as simple and quick as possible. But what happens when they succeed? When they get to 1 click and in? What happens when emotive and relative campaigns used to draw in audiences get predictable? What happens when people are just bored with sharing the same old content?

The answer?

Creativity. Individuality. Expression. Art (and of course, choosing the right marketer for your business or brand.)

Seth Godin talks about art and creativity in an absolutely brilliant way in his book The Icarus Deception. “Conformity no longer leads to comfort. But the good news is that creativity is scarce and more valuable than ever. So is choosing to do something unpredictable and brave: Make art”

Marketers who don’t follow the crowd or copy others, or who don’t put the client at the heart of their social efforts will fail.  They also need to know how to connect brands with people. The new media agency. The pioneers. The realists.

What do you think?