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Do I need a Referral Strategy?

To determine the answer you need to compare its potential returns to other ways you could use to market yourself. While a referral strategy is quite cost effective, some can be quite time consuming.

Generally a referral strategy is ideal when you have a higher-priced service or product. 

Define your target market

The last thing you want is to get referrals who don't translate into business. Start by setting the rules, decide what kind of customers you want to attract. Ask for referrals from your loyal customers; the ones that pay on time and are pleasant to deal with. Remember to market your clients by sharing their testimonials and express your gratitude. 

Define your offer

Your first step is to educate your existing customers why it's good for them to refer you. They need to have a good reason. They need to know how the referral process affects them. Talk about rewards, explain that they are actually helping you to save pounds (or dollars) and that translates to bigger savings for them. They help your business to stay strong and healthy and be ready to help them again. Promise you would also work to refer people back to them (if appropriate) or that you will share their contribution.

But most importantly make sure to let them know you're after quality people just like them.

Encourage Referrals

Once you know whom you want to deal with, and what you are prepared to offer to get them in through the door, the next step is ta work on your strategy. Remember people tend to highly value what other people think of them. Explain that by referring YOU their friends would get the highest possible service and be glad they got the referral in the first place.

Ask to mail (I am talking using Royal Mail) your customers' friends a special and relevant to them offer. Start by typing that you want them to know about your special offer and give some bullet points on the benefits of your product or service -remind them the benefits even if they have already got the product or service from you!

Give away a voucher for them to share and one more for them to use freely. The secret is regular mail-outs offerings; and your offerings should include an Incentive!

Give TOP service

Obvious but remember going the extra mile might actually cost you time or money!

Call and Ask them

Be brave. Call them and state that you are wondering whether they know anyone in the market for your product or service -then send them details and keep in touch.

Discounted gift voucher

Lot's of businesses "sale" gift vouchers. What about sharing discounting voucher with your clients -they can use them directly OR share them with their friends.

Send an unexpected gift

ALWAYS send a small gift on their birthday (or with any excuse really). The secret is to enclosure a referral card (see my last point).

Train your team

Ensure your colleagues fully understand the strategy you want to implement. And the vital role they are to play in it. 

Referral Card Template

 (Your Logo or Company Name)

Referral Card

Your Company Details + Special Offer

= back side =

Please fill-out referral details

Phone B/H
Phone M
Referred by

Using a referral template/card is vital. The referral card makes it easier for everyone plus it reminds people of your expectations. It also states your professional approach. 

Interested to exchange referrals? Call me or send me a message to get started!

Source/based on 'Instant Leads' by Brandley J. Sugars

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Continuing a previous post I decided to create a Step by Step guide for Social Pilot.

I make an effort to describe the main features and key diferences from other Social Media management platforms.

You can view the guide online or download it to your PC.

What are the Key Benefits

Social Pilot is designed to simplify the scheduling process. Basically we have a Schedule queue with designated time frames and we simply add our posts int the queue.

Furthermore we can repeat social media posts using a simple interface. Social Pilot keeps delivered posts and we can easily re-schedule them by dragging them to an open time slot.

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Social Pilot: How it all started

Hello people. I thought to share my first impression after starting using Social Pilot. As I am sure you are aware Social Pilot is another platform to manage your Social Media activity. So what IS the main reason I decided to use THIS platform?

Well, I was using another social media management tool and I discovered that I had to reinvent the wheel like every single day. Pretty much I had to recreate and re-write my posts and re-uploading my images. This was insane. The only way to repeat a post was by exporting to Excel, make any modifications and then bulk import. Even worse it was impossible to specify the image path. Thus the constant re-uploading of the same image/video. It was ridiculous! Yes, there IS a workaround, someone can "tap" an image to get the URL.

hot to get the image urlIn other platforms we need to tap the image to get the URL

Conclusion: The main reason I decided to switch to Social Pilot is because it keeps a list of previous posts AND it's dead easy to repeat them (images/video paths remain intact). 

Social Pilot: First Steps - Setup scheduled times

The first step (this is the same in most platforms) is to connect our Social Media account. Immediately we get a prompt to define our queue schedule [it's profile has a unique queue schedule attached]

define queue schedule for accountWe can define our queue schedule for each profile  

What the heck we need a queue?

The idea is to simplify our workload. We set the queue schedule ONCE and simply add posts into the queue. Then our posts publish as a first in-first out way. We can either ADD new posts to the queue or select delivered posts and repeat them. It gets some time to figure it out -but it really simplifies our life!

Social Pilot: Calendar (drag n' drop)

Our calendar INCLUDES delivered posts. Thus we can drag n' drop any delivered post to reschedule it (and repeat it). This way we can easily fill gaps in our time schedule with existing/delivered posts. 

social pilot calendarThe current day is highlighted. We can either create new posts or dran n drop previous ones to fill gaps.

Social Pilot: Frustrations

Here are my first concerns regarding the platform.

  1. The forum is still new and very basic. In most cases we need to figure out how to use the platform. Furthermore no option to search the blog section. Thus we rely on trial and error and it WILL get time to get used to the platform. For some reason the forum is not easily vissible. 
    link to supportSomeone has to scroll down to the bottom to get the link for Support
  2. No way to fully edit a scheduled post. Yes.... I can't figure this out. Maybe it;s something on the pipeline? But we can only fully edit DELIVERED posts (!). Let;s say I have a scheduled post and I need to deliver it to another profile. That's not possible. I can update the TIME, CONTENT and IMAGE/VIDEO but no way to add or change the profile. I trully can't get this, I mean the option IS available whenever we reschedule a post.
    missing option to select accountThe option to select accounts is ONLY available on the rescheduling
  3. Weekly calendar includes Sunday and Saturday -can't set a "working week" Mon to Friday.
  4. Generally speaking we can NOT configure our screen. Either you like what you see or you switch to another platform. No customisations what so ever.

Social Pilot: Best feature 

The option to REPEAT a post for certain times in certain time frame. This allows to "pin" a post every single day at the same time; which is cool.

I will be posting a handy Social Pilot User Guide soon - talk you soon

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Like As Your Page

1. You search and find the page of your interest. Lets say Crochet Addict UK is the page of your interest. 

Crochet Addict Page Example

2.You click on the 3 dots, and a drop down menu appears. Click on "Like as your Page"

Like as your page crochet uk addict

3. Select a Page. Like the page you have chosen as one of your pages that appear on the drop down menu, and submit.

Like as your page

Another way to like a page as your page

1.On your page, find on your right side: See Pages Feed. Posts from Pages that you've liked as your Page. 

See Pages Feed Posts from Pages that you've liked as your Page

2.Click on it. 

Like Other Pages

3. Click on Like Other Pages button

Like Other Pages

4. Start writting the name of the pages of your interest. Choose from the list.

See now a short tutorial now about the subject.

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1. Go to Settings top right on your pageSettings on the right
Edit Page on the left on Facebook Page media4you.social

2. Go To Edit Page on the left 


3. Go to Templates, Click on Edit button on the right, and choose a template with default buttons and tabs designed to help your Page.

4.Depending on the type of your business page, there are the following templates with default buttons and tabs, to choose from, and help your Page:











Restaurants and cafes



RestaurantsandCafes Standard


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1. Go to Settings top right on your pageSettings on the right of the Facebook Page - media4you.social

2. Go To Edit Page on the left Edit Page on the left on Facebook Page media4you.social

3. In Tabs Section, you can use default tabs, by selecting OFF/ON button, or you can click and drag a tab name to rearrange the order. The tab order also determines the order of the sections people see at the top of your Page. 

How to use Tabs Section media4you.social

4. Select ON/OFF to turn off the tab if you don't want people to see it on your Page. However you cannot do this in all tabs. About, Videos, Posts, Likes, and Photos Tabs cannot turned off! 

Quite useful is the Share choice, where you can copy the URL and share the tab with people directly!

How To Show Shop Tab media4you.social

Video Tutorial

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With our ecommerce solution you can now open your store for business in just one day! Designed to achieve 24/7 customer flow, our friendly “one place” dashboard guarantees you can focus on your clients and let us worry about the technical bits.

Your dedicated Social Media Manager will work on increasing traffic and grow your online sales, consistently posting quality content. We maximise exposure with compelling product photos and build your community using features like links, surveys and social buttons.

By using ingenious “micro content”- combining traditional text and image material with attention-grabbing video and audio- we connect with people on-the-go. People will want to share the content we create. We’re also always working on fresh ideas including:

  • A Pinterest “treasure hunt” with image hints that link one picture to another and reveal a story. The first person to reach the end gets a reward.
  • Webinars that inform and entertain your prospects.

As business takes off, we’ll work on generating trust and spreading your message: product reviews will promote faith in your brand, provide insights and drive word of mouth.

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Examine These Four Areas Before Marketing Your Business Through Social Media.

You probably know already that beginning social media marketing for your business is a huge decision. Perhaps you feel you have all the technical know-how you need, or perhaps you’ve hired some social media marketers to help you if you need advice or don’t have time to work on it. By now you may well feel you’re ready to take the big step into the social media spotlight.

Are you really ready for your online debut?

My personal experience says ‘sorry, but no’, not until you examine these four crucial areas. Social media success depends on trust. These four points are going to help you build your users’ faith in your brand. Neglecting any of these areas could spell disaster for your growing web-presence.

Make time to go through these points carefully.

  1. Is your mission statement absolutely clear? Take a long, hard look. Would it be totally understandable to someone outside of the business? Is misinterpretation a possibility? Even if you are an established company with a stable source of clients, don’t assume that your business aims are obvious. If your mission statement isn’t clear, it won’t be understood through your marketing.
    When marketing on social media, you only have a brief time in which to make an impression. In certain media your window may be as short as a couple of seconds. This is your opportunity to win new markets and transmit your message. It doesn’t matter how frequent or high-quality your social media updates might be if your underlying business goals aren’t defined. If the message isn’t understood, prospects won’t see what you’re offering and will go elsewhere.
    Re-examining your business mission statement defines your target group and makes them easier to track down. By focusing on the demographics highlighted by your mission statement, you can match your approach better with your customer base. This promotes trust in your brand.
    The comprehensibility of your mission statement has another effect on the way you interact with the internet: it changes the way you use language. Being specific and clear in the way you write online helps search engines and social media software find you. This means that someone searching for the services you provide will be connected with you quicker.
  2. Are you ready to socialize? Cultivate an appetite for meeting people through social media from the beginning. Learn to love talking about your company; about the solutions you can provide for your customers. Online, just as in person, it falls on you- the business owner- to make the first move.
    Start a conversation that gives value to your prospective client. The conversation is not necessarily about your job. Show concern and interest in your customer. Build a bridge for communication and then present yourself and your company. Of course, if they have a problem your company can solve, don’t hesitate to offer advice and help.
    Don’t forget to listen. Constant updates without showing any real interaction with users will undermine trust in your web presence. Few people are interested in an obvious marketing campaign. You must present yourself as you are; a human being willing to communicate. 
  3. Define your actions, and get prepared. Once you have decided what your goals are, it’s time to come up with a plan of action. You need to:
    • Create a daily plan and stick to it.
    • Decide what content you are going to post every day (regularity is essential).
    • Choose which social media platform you are going to concentrate on.
    • Figure out how your content will be worded. Think about whether your audience will respond best to a casual or formal tone. Research how to make the most of the platform you’re using (hashtags for Twitter, etc.). Brush up on your grammar or contact us for a free consultation.
      Planning ahead boosts your confidence and that of others coming into contact with your company. If you trust your company (because you are well prepared), you won’t get worried by negativity and potential customers will also trust you. That being said, encountering negativity on social media is inevitable. Don’t be put off: your hard work creates trust and loyalty, and unfavourable remarks needn’t set you back. Handling feedback well will inspire faith in your brand and constructive criticism should always be encouraged.
  4. Prepare to be patient before you launch on social media. Success will not come overnight. You will have to present your business over and over again. It will take time for people to hear and recognise it as unique, and it’s only then when you’ll really reap the benefits.
    If you have doubts about social media marketing because no-one seems to be interacting, remember that the exposure alone is enormously valuable. Also, if you get discouraged and stop using social media, your web presence suffers. Your potential customers get the message that your company gives up. Even if you start again you’re at a disadvantage. A lack of consistency in business does not inspire trust.

In brief; four areas to examine before starting social media marketing:

  • Be clear in your mission statement.
  • Socialise.
  • Strategise.
  • Prepare to be patient.

Establishing these basics puts you in a better position than most of your competitors. It will even save time building up that most important of assets: trust. Which of the four areas challenges you?

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Different types of online communities can be used for different purposes. How then, do we choose what kind of community to create? Platform and purpose are important determining factors when starting an online community. Also, in order for the community to be successful members must remain at the centre.

  1. Platform is the medium where we host our community. Should we use Facebook pages, Facebook groups or maybe Twitter Chats? Everything that relates to our brand and company on the web acts as a platform. Many businesses use their corporate website or blog as a medium for housing their community.
  2. Purpose is the essence of the community. It is the “big why” behind its creation. Why do we bring those members together? What do we want to accomplish by creating the community? The answer is simple: We need to serve the community in an effective and efficient way. That's when sales leads and income will follow.

The purpose of the community relates to the brand and the products, as in the examples in our previous post. Our purpose is not to sell the products or advertise a company (which may lead to failure).

According to the purpose the community serves, it can belong to the following types:

  • Special interest communities: based on a shared interest that symbolizes a piece of the members’ identities. For example: antique car refinishers, sports journalists, Jane Austen readers, or German Shepherd owners)
  • Trigger communities: These communities form around significant life events or phases: periods in which people come together seeking support and important information. You may find additional info in this website: Goj2.com

Other common factors that relate to the community's purpose and determine its type:

  • Interest: People who share common interests or passions come together to form a community. (special interest communities)
  • Place: People getting together based on geographical areas. (special interest or trigger communities)
  • Practice: Profession or practice methods are a binding factor of these communities. (special interest communities)
  • Ideology: People aspiring to the same humanitarian goal and aim to bring about similar changes. (special interest or trigger communities)
  • Circumstances: People are brought together by circumstances or external forces (trigger communities)

Furthermore there may be additional subcategories within these communities.

  1. Family Groups: Communities where families (including extended families) get together sharing news & events.
  2. Role Playing: Where people dress up and act like characters from comics or mythology. Today, this is a growing trend.
  3. Medical Support Group: People suffering from similar medical problems come together in such communities, especially around major illnesses like cancer.
  4. Ethnic Group: People from particular ethnic groups come together to share their lives.
  5. Travel Communities: Travelers form communities to share tips, reviews and off-beat activities. They may suggest places to visit or to avoid.
  6. Professional Groups: These communities are drawn together by occupation. People following a certain profession come together to share insights, new developments and news. They offer advice, tips and support.
  7. Special Interest Groups: These communities focus along any common interest or similarities in lifestyle.
  8. Creative Sharing Groups: These communities attract creative people. They share their work and guide each other towards greater skills development.
  9. Groups Around Geographical Areas. These groups form a place to speak, listen and interact with other people from the same area.
  10. Collaborative Groups: These communities evolve when a group of people work collaboratively, taking advantage of social medias’ communication capabilities.
  11. Hobby Groups: People are bound by interest in a particular craft or hobby and share tips and experiences.
  12. DIY groups: There is a growing group of DIY enthusiasts. These communities form through a common interest in DIY techniques and projects.
  13. Relationship Groups: Businesses use such communities to build stronger relations with their clients. Individuals seek a relationship and want to come together and interact with others.

Those are some of the types of communities found in the internet. There are many more covering topics and interests that people can share.

What type of community would you like to support on the internet? Why?

Resources and info: cleverism.com

Further reading: What is an Online Community?

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Where to start?

Growing our community and gaining new prospects starts by understanding what it’s all about.

Imagine a large community. It’s formed by active customers, involved prospects and enthusiastic brand advocates. How can you pass your business message on to them? Having them all connected online makes it easy and convenient. How much could such a community contribute to the success of your business?

I assume a lot. Is it is easy to form an online community as suggested? Actually, no. To tell you the truth, if you start it the wrong way or for the wrong reason it may never happen!

Our first step is to gain an understanding of what comprises an online community. After searching the internet, I’ve come across several definitions.

I have chosen seven definitions to share with you.

  1. ‘An online community is a group of people with common interests who use the Internet (web sites, email, instant messaging, etc) to communicate, work together and pursue their interests over time’. (Commoncraft.com)
  2. ‘An online community is a virtual community whose members interact with each other primarily via the Internet. For many, online communities may feel like home, consisting of a “family of invisible friends.". Those who wish to be a part of an online community usually have to become a member via a specific site and necessarily need an internet connection. An online community can act as an information system where members can post, comment on discussions, give advice or collaborate. Commonly, people communicate through social networking sites, chat rooms, forums, e-mail lists and discussion boards. People may also join online communities through video games, blogs and virtual worlds’. (Wikipedia Article)
  3. ‘An online community is a community that forms on the internet. A community is a group of people interacting, sharing, and working toward a common goal. Whereas neighbors may converse in their yards, in an online community, members interact via social networks, such as Twitter, Facebook, and Google+. They also share in forums, e-mail groups, and even in the comments sections of blog posts and news articles’. (Dummies.com)
  4. An online community is a ‘network of people who communicate with one another and with an organization through interactive tools such as e-mail, discussion boards and chat systems’. (Businessdictionary.com)
  5. An online community is ‘A group of people who use a particular internet service or belong to a particular group on the internet’. (Dictionary.cambridge.org)
  6. In Jenny Preece's book “Online Communities” she states that online communities generally consist of the following:
    • People socialising while attempting to satisfy their own needs or play specific parts in the community, like moderating or leading discussions.
    • A uniting purpose in the form of common needs, interests, aims, lifestyles, use of service, or anything else which motivates the desire for community.
    • Practices in the form of unspoken rules, socially defined habits, procedures and legal strictures that influence and limit the way members interact.
    • Computers which mediate and facilitate social interaction and promote feelings of unity. (Via Design to Thrive, by Howard Thorson (2010) ) (Socialmediatoday.com)
  7. Lastly, here is my own definition: An online community is no different to any other community except for the fact it’s online. It is a group of people with something in common. Shared factors include; interests, experiences, ideals, goals or profiles. Loyal customers or brand fans need to create profiles. Communities are often based on proximity.

Who has an online community?

Bloggers, business, organizations and individuals, even blog sites use online groups. Often they create separate communities that serve a specific purpose. (i-scoop.eu)


From the definitions, we can see that the communities housed on the internet are quite like off-line communities in most respects. They are built around shared interests, passions and pains, or sometimes around categories based on common traits. These groups’ purpose is to bring people together serve their needs as members of a community.

Let me share examples of online communities that are doing exceptionally well. 
(source:  10 Exceptional Examples Of Brand Communities)

  1. The SAP Community Network (SCN)
  2. Playstation Community (Sony)
  3. Being Girl (Procter and Gamble)
  4. Figment (Random House)
  5. H&R Block
  6. Harley Owners Group (Harley-Davidson)
  7. Lugnet (Lego)
  8. My Starbucks Idea (Starbucks)
  9. Oracle Community (Oracle)
  10. r/Nordstrom1901 (Nordstrom)

To succeed, a community must be "member-centric". This means that the members and whatever ties them together are at the centre of the group’s motivation, not the company or its products and services. (The Hyper Social Organization, p.49)

This is the reason why so many online communities fail. Because they are built around a company or a brand to serve the purposes of the business alone, they fail to give value to the members of the community. Next read: Online Community types

Have you ever enrolled in a brand/product-centric online community? Did you feel like your needs as a member were met? Did you continue subscribing?

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