Meaningful marketing – right message, right person, right time

It was back in 2009 (blimey almost 7 years ago now) when I blogged about right person, right message and right time.

The post largely focused on direct mail – and the fact that many of our clients were challenged by the fact that they were getting low response rates to their one hit wonder marketing attempts.

Of course, in the past 7 years – everything has changed and yet nothing has changed.  The sentiment in the blog post I wrote almost 7 years ago remains the same – it’s just that tools, channels and technologies enable us even more with our endeavours to get the right message to the right person at the right time.


However, whilst the tactics haven’t changed, the playing field has. There’s now more content delivered to consumers daily than ever before.

As Eric Schmidt famously said in 2010 ‘Every 2 days we create as much content as we did up to 2003!

With an abundance of content around – and technology at our 24/7 fingertips making whatever we need accessible to us – then there’s real skill required to get into the hearts and minds of your audience.

However, the practical tactics I talked about in 2009 remain:

1) A clear understanding of the purpose of the mailing (what need is it fulfilling).

2) Accurate and relevant targeting (the benefits may be great but if they’re not relevant to your audience – you’ve missed the point).

3) A way to compel and involve the reader to take action and respond.

So let’s take a look at the winning combination: Right message, right person and the right time.

Right Person

Targeting is the first step in any campaign.  Question your logic: who are you trying to attract?  Who do you want to reach?  Targeting is easier these days, but you still have to have systems in place to learn as much as possible.  You need to have some knowledge of your audience, in order to be able to target effectively.

A great start to targeting is utilising existing customer information, their user behaviours, the journey they’ve taken to reach you and where possible, ask questions during your purchase processes where relevant to find out more about them. Such information should enable you to identify with them – understand what motivates them.  The more you have the more you are able to profile them into segments that focus on them as real people rather than ‘batches of behaviour’. The more your know, the closer you can get, the more personalised you can be – the more authentic the relationship you can build.

Right Message

There are many tactics and ideas for making your communications ‘stand out’.   And indeed some businesses spend enormous amounts of money on gimmicks, creative and incentives both online and offline.

It’s worth remembering that what customers (aka people) are really looking for is relevance – they are far more likely to respond to a mailing which has an offer they are interested in, than to one which has a great design or gimmick, but is of no relevance to them.

Indeed, it’s easy to get carried away with the ‘attention grabbing gimmicks’ – this is the fun stuff.   And whilst the ‘whacky’ designs may catch attention – what all communication experts agree on is the importance of ‘relevance of message’.  In a time strapped world, if you’re going to ‘show up’ and be useful, then you need to be as relevant as possible.

Experts agree that the creation of the ‘message’ needs research and planning.

The focus of the message is to win attention and encourage your readers to take action.  Some key tips to consider when crafting your message:

  • Be yourself – personalise communications as much as you can and demonstrate a sound knowledge of your audience’s business dynamics (if relevant) and a clear understanding of the obstacles they face.  If the reader believes you have empathy with their situation – they are far more likely to engage with your message.
  • Don’t talk too much about yourself – readers are interested in what you can do for them – not what you do.  Focus on the opportunities your products and services present for them. A good mantra is to uncover the ‘benefits of the benefits’.  If you’re too ‘feature’ focused – you’re missing the critical element of what’s in it for them.
  • Use the words ‘you’ and ‘your’ as much as possible and minimise the ‘we’s’.  This will warm up your messaging considerably.
  • If there is an offer in your message – then be direct about it – and get the value proposition or the offer in early on in the communication.   If you can save them £500 immediately (and if that’s a relevant message to them) – then tell them this in the headline.  And of course, repeat the offer again at other points – don’t let them miss the opportunity.
  • Make it easy for people to buy/engage/take action.  So often I read communications where I’m thinking – ‘what do they want me to do’.  Be sure you have clear instruction of how to take action.
  • Be sure to keep any response mechanisms (in order for people to engage and take action) as simple as possible and where relevant provide a few response options.  Don’t stipulate that orders must be done ‘online’ – as that may present an obstruction to buy.

Right Time

A key aspect to all effective communication is  ‘timing’.  It’s very difficult to know exactly when your target customer is ‘ready to buy / engage or take action’.  Of course, there may be some seasonal opportunities which determine an opportune time – and so consider this when planning.  But remind yourself, that it still doesn’t provide any guarantees.

Timing is exactly why ‘one hit wonders’ are extremely rare – if evident at all.  More often than not – deciding when to communicate, email, target – is more of a case of what you can internally manage and resource.

And that’s fine – provided that you don’t plan on doing communications or campaigns in ‘isolation’.  By this I mean – that you do not attempt to attain the elusive ‘one hit wonder’ – but instead plan an integrated marketing campaign of which direct messaging is one component.

Regular communication is the only solution to the ‘right time’ problem.  Even with sophisticated consumer behaviourial profiling, knowing just ‘when’ a customer is ready to buy – requires skills beyond the realms of our 5 senses.  Of course, marketing automation helps us to keep moving those interested in what we’ve shared forward – but again, be sure all communications are as ‘human’ and personable as possible. Often – automated communications are obvious. I know I’m being marched through a funnel – albeit a sophisticated one. So make the experience as personable and personalised as possible.

Having continuous conversations with your audience is key as even if your offer is amazingly compelling – for many of the people you target, it may simply be a case that now is just not the right time for them.  However, 6 months down the line – it may be the perfect time for them.  And so – regular communication, providing genuine value with each message, allows you to build ‘share of mind’, loyalty, and eventually ‘hit the mark’.

Let’s think about it this way.  Research in ‘sales activity’ tells us that the optimum number of times you need to ask the customer to buy in order to gain a positive result is 7.   This tells us that regular communication is necessary to achieve the end objective.

So – right time, right person, right message, six simple words – yet a whole load of complexity in getting it right.

In a sea of sameness and overload of marketing messages, consumer offers and choice – making your marketing activity authentically personable and meaningful has never been more important. So taken on the challenge of complexity, commit to getting close to your audience so you genuinely understand their needs – and you’ve got a whole lot more chance of getting the right message, to the right person at the right time.

My message to you is that if you’re not investing time in learning – then you’re just ‘churning’.  And my guess is, that’s not proving to be very effective.

As always – any questions tweet me @michellecarvill or email 

Michelle Carvill, best selling business author, speaker, founder and Director at Carvill - the social media marketing agency. For information about how the team at Carvill can help you - simply get in touch or visit our website for more information.

5 Pinterest Tips To Put Into Practice

Pinterest is now one of the fastest growing social media platforms – but there are still many business owners not using it!

We encourage all businesses – especially those who are product based, to be on Pinterest. Not only does the platform allow you to save creative ideas, but it’s also brilliant for small businesses that need to reach millions of people easily.

I love pin + interest

In order to improve your engagement on Pinterest and get even more exposure, we’ve put together a few strategies for you to start using:

  1. Pin content that isn’t just your own

If you’re pinning other users content, it gets the attention of the original pinner and shows everyone that you’re an authentic, active member of the Pinterest community.

  1. Don’t use hashtags – use rich pins

Instead of using hashtags, try using rich descriptions to make your content more searchable. Remember, details are key – but don’t make it too long – you want your audience to be able to pick up content quickly and easily.

  1. Create pin it for later links

Just created a new blog post? A great thing that people are now doing on Pinterest is creating a ‘pin it for later’ board. By giving your readers the option to ‘pin the post for later,’ the reader can easily pin your blog post to their ‘read it later’ board on their own Pinterest account.  This gives your audience a different an easy way to catch up with your content.

  1. Use rich pins

Rich pins are an excellent way to make your content stand out and give your products more visibility. Rich pins means that you are able to pull extra information right on the pin itself.

  1. Be consistent

Like other social media channels, a consistent sharing strategy is vital to get more exposure, followers and re-pins. The best strategies behind Pinterest engagement is to pin as much as possible – when you can.

Once you’ve put these simple steps into place you should start to see more engagement on your Pinterest account. Feel free to share your experience or ask any questions by tweeting us @carvillcreative.

Introducing the new Facebook Reactions

So Facebook are feeding our ongoing need to add an emoji to everything we post or respond to. The ‘Like’ button doesn’t quite work with all Facebook posts and it can often lead to misinterpretation. We all feel awkward ‘liking’ someone’s bad news posts but currently that’s all we can do to say we’ve read and acknowledged.

But soon, with the new Facebook Reactions feature we’ll have an array of ‘emotions’ to choose from – introducing Love, Haha, Yay, Wow, Sad and finally, Angry.

facebook reactions

Facebook consulted with sociologists to help decide what they think their users would use most – and the new Reactions seem to cover most emotions that we’re likely to share. In the ‘mobile’ world we now live in, hitting a Reaction button should work well. But the question is – will this reduce the number of comments we write? Probably…

For Facebook business pages, the number of Reactions they receive will be valuable and shouldn’t be ignored. Like online reviews, the more Love’s and Wow’s, the better. How people are reacting to a brand or business’s posts, even with just a click of a button, will give a great insight into their customer’s perception. Page owners will also be able to see the ‘reactions’ to all their posts within page insights in the same way that it currently shows all their likes.

Ireland and Spain are the lucky guinea pigs who are trialling the Reactions first, their mainly national base of friends was the reason for this and also because one is English speaking and the other obviously not.

As of yet there has been no mention when all users will be able to express their Reactions – but we’ll be sure to let you know as soon as we hear anything.


As always – any questions tweet me @michellecarvill or email

Michelle Carvill, best selling business author, speaker, founder and Director at Carvill - the social media marketing agency. For information about how the team at Carvill can help you - simply get in touch or visit our website for more information.

Beware… The Curse of Knowledge – 5 ways to overcome your nemisis

For anyone that knows me – they know that I’ve always got a recommendation of a  ‘good book that you’d enjoy‘ at the ready.

Amazon business books must love me – as I buy books weekly! (In fact 3 books ordered this week, Getting Goosebumps, (@googledave) Stop Talking Start Doing and Do Less Get More – both by (@shaawasmund)).

I love to zip my way through them – sometimes reading two or three books at a time – scribbling notes and collecting gems of knowledge. It’s rare I don’t pick something up – and it’s wonderful when I pick upL plate on something that’s potentially been challenging me for years.

In my recent reading endeavours, I was introduced to Made To Stick a pacey and easily digestible tome – packed with practical insights into the power of stories and theories around why some ideas stick and others don’t. One area they touch on which really chimed with me is the Curse of Knowledge.

The Curse of Knowledge – the premise that the more you know about something, the harder it is for you to imagine what it’s like to lack that knowledge. This was a real ‘ta dah’ light bulb moment for me. As, I don’t know about you – but sometimes, I’m in meetings with people and when explaining something, all I get is bemused blank looks.

It’s as if my logical plain English discussion has been turned into a totally incomprehensible foreign language which no one understands.

What I now better understand, it that it’s my nemisis coming into action, mwah ha ha   –  the curse of knowledge.  When people look at me as if they don’t know what I’m talking about – that’s because they probably really don’t know what I’m talking about.

Thankfully, it’s not that I’m a terrible communicator (honest) – but rather that I am talking to them as if they already know what I know – and they don’t.

What does this mean for the way we communicate?

The curse of knowledge is such a significant factor in how we communicate. Not only with our colleagues, but also with our marketing communications. When we’re explaining something to a customer, client or new team member – either via talking, video, email or however else, we have to remember that they don’t know what we know.

We have to remind ourselves to turn back the  experience dial and think about what we had to know to know what we now know. (Too many know’s here but you get my drift).

And if you’re in the business of influencing people, management, business, selling – and you’re looking for people to do what you want them to do – or buy what you want them to buy – then the curse of knowledge becomes a big challenge.

Here’s one way of looking at it…

Liken it to driving a car. When you first stepped into the driving seat to take your lessons – you thought about every single thing that you did. You actively listened for the step by step instruction from your instructor.

You nervously checked, double checked and triple checked your mirrors, indicators, seat belt and that your foot was on the right pedal.  You probably then read up on your highway code or theory practice – so that you were fully immersed and prepared for any eventuality.

Ping yourself forward a few (or many years) and driving’s a breeze, right? You don’t even think about it.  But that’s because you’ve been doing it a while, it’s become part of what you do – it’s natural.  And importantly, it’s really difficult to remember, not knowing how to drive. If you now had to explain to someone how to drive – you’d find it challenging, you’d probably cut corners and you’d get frustrated that they weren’t ‘getting it’ – after all, it’s not rocket science – it’s just driving.  Right?

Well apply this scenario to work, business or life. The same principle applies. And when you become aware of the curse of knowledge, you start to see it’s manifestations all around you. In conversations, I find myself talking B2B and B2C and putting up slides filled with acronyms that I am familiar with and therefore, I assume everyone should know. Only to be asked, what does that mean?

And the worry is, just how many people do we think sit on their hands and don’t ask for fear of looking like an idiot. Not only does the curse of knowledge hamper communication and getting the point across – but it also stops you from genuinely connecting with people. There’s nothing more rewarding than being heard – but communication is a two way street and you need to be talking in a language everyone understands in order to achieve that effectively.

So here are my 5 simple lessons for overcoming the curse of knowledge:

1.     Be aware

Once you know about the curse of knowledge just start sense checking how you’re communicating.  You’ll start to spot the assumptions you make all the time.  People aren’t idiots or being difficult – they just don’t know what you know – just like you may not know what they know.

 2.   Sense check

Check in with someone that is similar, or part of the audience you’re looking at communicating to. Does it make sense to them. It is pitched at the right level. Do they understand what you’re saying. Is there anything that they don’t understand. Is there any jargon that could be simplified.

3.     Start at the beginning

Rather than diving in and assuming a high level of knowledge, ask where people are to gauge where you need to start. I’ve found it really useful to say things like ‘I’m not teaching grandma to suck eggs here – but I’m starting at the beginning just so that we’re all on the same page – for those of you that know this, great and bear with me for a few minutes, and for those of you that don’t already know this – great, I’m going to go through it briefly.

4.     Does that make sense?

When you get the confused looks, or you feel you might as well be speaking Japanese (to non Japanese speaking people;)) – then check in. Ask the question – does that make sense? See who is getting it and who isn’t and then be prepared to start at the bottom and work through things step by step for those that aren’t.

5.     Step into their world

Having empathy and patience is key to effective communication. You may not remember all the steps you took when learning to drive but you will remember how vulnerable you felt the first time you sat in the driver’s seat – and remember that for others learning something for the first time, they too may be feeling a little ‘fish out of water’. So work on drawing your audience in by understanding where they’re coming from – and breaking things down so it’s easily communicable.

For me – uncovering the ‘curse of knowledge’ – has set me on a mission to change and improve some of the ways I communicate. Here’s hoping you find it’s something useful to be aware of too.

As always – any questions tweet me @michellecarvill or email  

Michelle Carvill, best selling business author, speaker, founder and Director at Carvill - the social media marketing agency. For information about how the team at Carvill can help you - simply get in touch or visit our website for more information.

Social Media ROI & LinkedIn’s Social RecruitIn event

As a business owner – it’s often difficult to step outside of what we do day to day working ‘in’ the business) – to take time out to work ‘on’ the business. However, whilst it’s difficult – I recognise it’s also absolutely necessary.

For me, when I get the opportunity to talk at an event – it’s the perfect opportunity to do some working ‘on’.

Yesterday I had the pleasure of being part of LinkedIn’s Social RecruitIn event, at the Business Design Centre, focused on helping agencies to build, engage and recruit.

The conference theme was around the Art and Science of Recruitment – covering talks from both the creative art side and the data drive science side.

My talk focused on Measuring the Value of Social Media – giving a quick update on where we are with social media, from a technology and stats perspective – and then providing a practical framework for how to measure social.

ROI Mother

Key to measuring anything is, of course, determining the metrics – and then critical to identifying the return – is attaching a monetary value to those metrics.

I couldn’t resist kicking off my including the colourful and creative Gary Vaynerchuk’s (@garyvee) analogy ‘What’s the ROI of your Mother?’ – and that certainly become a continuous theme to the start of many of the conversations I had during the day (so thanks Gary).

Of course, whilst I agree with Gary that it’s often tricky to measure some of the more intangible aspects of social – I disagree that it’s impossible. There are certainly concrete elements that can be measured – the all important aspect is determining what it is you are setting out to achieve and then what you are going to measure to determine whether you’re getting there and achieving results.

I’ll put together a webinar on this very soon – so if you’d like to join that – email me and I’ll be sure to loop you in.

My session was followed by morning tea – and then @JamesCaan took to the stage – sharing his insights into how social media can be used directly within the recruitment industry – and showcasing how he is applying social media activity to leverage opportunities.

My favourite session on the morning saw Dave Hazlehurst (@googledave) take to the stage to lead a discussion on Amplifying your brand through social.


Dave’s punchy character, passion for his topic and delivery style certainly grabbed attention – and in just 20 minutes he shared so many nuggets and takeaways around content marketing; the power of stories, content ideas around education and pain points and brand amplification.  Always great to meet and connect with people that really talk the same language and I’ll certainly be tuning in to his musings and reading his book, Getting Goosebumps.

Over lunch I was fortunate to get to listen to the headline keynote, Lou Adler (@LouA), CEO of The Adler Group – who was holding a Q&A. I really enjoyed his stance on performance based hiring. Aspects of which that could be applied not only to recruitment but many other sectors and areas of business.

After lunch I was keen to see Ollie Sharp, Senior Sales Manager at LinkedIn – talking and leading a panel on How Senior Leads and Consultants Give a Brand a Personality.  The session focused on the growing area of ‘the SocialCEO’ – and how socially connected a CEO is can drive brand and intention throughout an organisation.  Showcasing CEO’s doing it well – eg: Richard Branson – and then getting two CEO’s on stage to provide a grass roots overview as to how they are driving social within their businesses. I was delighted to see that in both cases, they showed tangible positive results to profitability, directly related to their social activity.

Proving the point that if social is done well, driven by strategic and business objectives, has buy in at the top level and is cascaded throughout the entire business – it is mighty powerful.

It was great to finally meet Ollie – as he and I had been tweeting for some time. Ollie had purchased several copies of The Business of Business Social some time ago advising that he made it mandatory for his sales team to read.  It transpires that having read it – it gave Ollie the inspiration to completely reposition their sales proposition to their audiences.


It was wonderful to receive praise and thanks, not only from Ollie, but also from Dan Dackombe, Sales Director EMEA and Greg Stephenson, Global Head of Solutions Product Marketing – as to what they had taken from the book to help them rethink how they sold their solutions.  Praise indeed.

In fact, at interview level, The Business of Being Social – is the book sales team candidates have to read and then present on. It’s always great to hear stories about how people have been inspired and impacted by the work you do – and so this is really wonderful news – and something that both David and I are immensely proud of.

My favourite keynote of the day was certainly Susie Wolff – Racing Driver, Williams F1 Team member – shared her story about finding her passion for racing at the tender age of 8 and the importance of staying in the moment, being prepared, finding your purpose and dreaming big.









DFWIt was a fabulous day – both enjoyable and useful.  A great event all round – and I couldn’t leave the blog without mentioning the brilliant MC for the day – Deborah Frances-White. A master of ceremonies if ever there was one. She brought all aspects of the day together perfectly, connected with the audience – made everyone feel comfortable and wholly involved. A true star.

As always – any questions tweet me @michellecarvill or email

 Michelle Carvill, best selling business author, speaker, founder and Director at Carvill - the social media marketing agency. For information about how the team at Carvill can help you - simply get in touch or visit our website for more information.



How to Market Your New Business – Everything you need to know in a 45 min video

How to Market Your New Business – Practical ‘how to’ video

Always great fun hanging out with @ThatSMGirl and the #StartUpTV team @madesimplegroup to deliver some quality content.

This week, on the very same day my new book was launched on Amazon, I delivered a 45 minute Google Hangout (aka a live streaming webinar), absolutely packed with practical gems to help market a new business (or market any other business for that matter).

Whether you are starting out and looking for ideas – or whether you are looking to improve your current marketing efforts, I encourage you to spend some time with this webinar to help you understand what you need to be focusing on.

Covering areas related to:

  • Keeping the customer front of mind at all times
  • Focusing on the 4 ways to grow a business
  • Market and competitor analysis
  • Mixing the modern marketing mix
  • Measuring what you to
  • Creating a simple marketing activity plan

View now and enjoy – and as always – any questions tweet me @michellecarvill or email

 Michelle Carvill, best selling business author, speaker, founder and Director at Carvill - the social media marketing agency. For information about how the team at Carvill can help you - simply get in touch or visit our website for more information.

A Word Of Advice To Content Creators: Be Sure To Know Where Your Images Are Sourced!

The diaphragm of a camera lens. Color toned image.

This week’s blog post focuses on the use of images in your online content and the importance of knowing where your images have come from.

As a social media and marketing agency we deal with online content on a daily basis and some of the time, when our clients don’t have images or written articles, it is down to us to create or source that content. Although some of us very much enjoy taking photos, we do not have extensive image libraries to hand! So we sometimes rely on purchasing images for use with the written content we’ve created or for our social media posts.

Recently we experienced a run in with a large stock photo agency who demanded a rather large amount of money from us because we had used an image from their site without their permission (It was a blog that was published many years ago and found using google images – but there was nothing on the image to say it belonged to anyone or that it was rights managed.

For a lot of people it’s all too easy to do a Google image search to find an image they like, after all it will say if it’s a paid image it would say won’t it? wrong;

Google Images show all sorts of images whether they feature on general websites or on sites that specialise in selling images and some of the time there are images that were initially purchased from the stock agencies and then used online. Google also announced recently that images in PDF documents will also feature in Google Images online search. So again, another good reason why it’s best to find alternate resources if you are looking for an image; This article really helps shed some light on how to ensure you are legally using online photos.


Have you recently had an issue over the copyright of an image you recently used online? We’d be interested to hear your experiences, tweet us @CarvillCreative

The Future’s Bright, The Future’s Ello? 

“Simple, beautiful and ad-free”

Ello is an ad-free social media network with a simple and uncluttered interface.

It began as a response by a small group of artists and programmers against the increasing bombardment of advertising and personal details being sold for capital gain on the other main social media networks.

When compared to the other social media platforms, it is most similar in look and feel to that of Tumblr and Twitter. The features are also familiar; Comment, Follow, Unfollow and @Mentions.

One of the appeals of Ello is that it allows a more personal element to Social Media allowing users to choose any username they want, unlike Facebook where users have to give a real name. (Facebook enforced this rule in the Summer of 2014 causing uproar to the American Gay community and entertainment industries where many profiles are that of people with ‘stage names’).


Using Ello

The self-explanatory drag and drop format allows you to set up a profile picture and header image with the recommended size specifications noted in the space itself. The interface is intuitive; a fluid grid layout with a lot of white space – you can tell it was created by Artists and Web Developers!

Its simple to navigate and if at any time you want to read up more about how to use it you can scroll to the bottom right at click the heading; ‘WTF’.

From looking around at the user profiles, you get the sense that this social media network is a great space for people to display their personal creativity; The platform places a large focus on sharing images, video and written content created by its users – all media had to be owned or created by its owners.

To find friends and people to follow you use the search bar and when finding friends you might like you simply ‘drag’ the thumbnail to your ‘Friends’ or ‘Noise’ areas. Friends being of course people you share reciprocal content with and Noise being the space where you are able to see everyones activity at a glance.


How Are Businesses Using Ello? 

Though Ello holds an anti-commercial stance, it has no policy against business accounts.

There are a few examples of businesses who have embraced the new social media network; Penguin Books and a fair few small retail brands such as the company, Cheap Monday which is owned by H&M and even Ello’s Founder, Paul Budnitz has an account for his Bicycle business.

If you know who your target audience are; ie Early adopters, creatives, US market then it could be worth having brand presence on Ello but be aware that you may need to think differently about the type of content you post on here compared to say Facebook and Google+. People who have joined Ello have joined to not be bombarded by ads and sales pitches so go for the simple approach by taking a nice image of the product and captioning it then post.


The Future For Ello 

We have yet to see how this network develops worldwide but it has just hit over a million users worldwide and has also managed to raise a further $5.5 Million in funding (TechCrunch 2014).

In terms of Social Advertising, Ello has made a promise to always be ad-free and never sell the company on to someone who would use the platform to advertise, they also promise never to sell user data as they believe that they have ‘products and features that users would be willing to pay for’.

At the time of writing, The Company is now on Beta Version 2 with private messaging now enabled for users and the network rolled out a Mobile app version available for iOs and Android.


Are you using Ello? We would love to hear how you’re finding using the platform and what your think of it - Tweet us @CarvillCreative or drop us a comment below.

5 Ways To Integrate Social Media into your Events

Looking at ways to integrate social media into your events? Then this post looks at 5 simple things to consider to keep the conversation bubbling, before, during and after your event.

1)     Get connected. When taking bookings for your event – be sure give delegates the opportunity to share their social media account details with you. For example, when you ask for their email address, why not ask for their Twitter handle too. This way you can connect with them directly – keep them updated on what’s going to be happening at the event – even ask questions about what they’re looking forward to etc – before the event has even started.

2)     Brand with a hashtag. Create a hashtag for your event so that you can easily get everyone attending or engaged with the event in any other way connected – pre, during and post the event.  You can print the # on promo materials, ask speakers to include on all their slides, use for promotional purposes – eg: getting user generated content from attendees etc – the opportunities are endless. Of course, when creating your # do some research to see if anyone else has used it before – keep it short and memorable and, no brainer – relevant.

3)     Showcase social activity. It was no surprise that at the recent Digital Shoreditch event, there were some really innovative and highly practical uses of social media activity at play.  Speakers were encouraged to share their Twitter handles so that everyone could interact with them during talks, and at the beginning of every talk they encouraged audiences to talk to them and connect.  Plus there was a fabulous contraption; The Social Stock ticker

FullSizeRender (1) FullSizeRender

tracking and printing out (good old bus conductor ticket styley) all tweets using the event hashtag #ds15.  And of course, there were Twitter boards showcasing conversations alongside the main presentation screens. Lots of engagement, lots of content to retweet, share, use in follow ups.

4)     Create a social database. Back to the hashtag again – simply create a Twitter list of all the people that engaged with the event – either those that used the hashtag or mentioned the event name or retweeted etc. This way, the next time you run the event, you can let them all know that event 2016 is taking place via Twitter.  Create an open list and everyone else can see who else connected with the event –useful as part of networking opportunities.

5)     Continuous conversations. So we’ve talked about what to do to capture audience, talk to them and engage during the event. What about after the event? Give delegates a reason to stay connected – perhaps slides are going to be shared into Twitter following the event, or video footage which they may be highlighted in, or there’s going to be Q&A sessions over on Facebook with some of the speakers – so share your questions with us.

So that’s just 5 ideas you an use to integrate social media into your event activities – I’m sure there are many others that you could come up with – if so, feel free to share them with us – we’re all ears… @carvillcreative


@Michelle Carvill founder of Carvill Creative – a digital marketing and social media agency based in Maidenhead, Berkshire and London.




Anybody there – and if so, do you care? The Importance of using Social Media Channels Effectively


It was interesting to read a recent report stating that whilst many PR organisations are now including social media channels as part of PR activity for their clients, the way in which they are using them isn’t as optimised as it could be.

The critical flaw highlighted in the report – is the use of social media channels purely as broadcast channels. Pushing out updates, notices, press releases and news – good old traditional marketing methodology pushed into a conversational platform.  But surely effective conversations are meant to be two way – otherwise it’s not a conversation, it’s just noise.

And it’s not just some PR organisations that are getting this wrong.  We see activity on the social channels day to day where there’s a lot of ‘talking at’ going on – but not much listening and engaging.

Each time we see this, it breaks our little hearts – as social media channels are perfect resources for engaging with people.  Used effectively, they are wonderful channels to engage in authentic conversations, to compel others to connect and share content or your ideas, extending reach and brand awareness – and yet, even though these channels have now been around for a number of years – we continue to see masses of lost opportunity.

Perfect example of pushing yet not listening

For example, we were recently working on a campaign for a client that meant we were tracking a range of keywords to research relevant conversations. In doing this, we uncovered that the PR company working on the campaign (and again, not just getting at PR companies here –  there are some PR companies that do social exquisitely) – whilst they were sharing updates on social platforms around a campaign, they were not actually geared up to follow up on any engagement. This meant that questions were being asked, people were asking for more info, where they could find products in which stores etc – and yet no one was engaging. The channel was purely being used to broadcast – nothing more.

My question to you therefore is – are you listening? And if so – is that listening effective? Don’t just plan a campaign and set up a tweet bank to push out a whole bunch of timely tweets – that’s not social, that’s broadcast.  Focus your campaign on engagement.  Ask the questions:

  • How are you going to engage?
  • How are you going to encourage engagement?
  • How are you going to get the conversations started?
  • How are you going to keep conversations continuing?
  • How are you going to track conversations?
  • How often?
  • Who’s listening in?

Basic questions – but all too often this critical aspect is missing from social activity.

Listening is part of being social – let’s not forget that.


As always follow us on Twitter to stay up to date with social media news and tips @carvillcreative


@MichelleCarvill founder of Carvill Creative – a digital marketing and social media agency based in Maidenhead, Berkshire and London.

6 Of The Best Free Social Media Analytical Tools

Magnifying glass in a handThere are many ways of analysing your social media accounts so we’ve decided to write a post offering some insider insight into the most popular ones whilst also shedding some light on the lesser known ones that are also free and do a pretty good job.

Many of these tools vary from being great ways of working out when to post onto your social media channels to analysing the quality of your current followers/fans.

  1. Twitter Audit – So first to Twitter Audit, This is quite a small offering in terms of information gained but very effective in getting a general idea of how many of your followers are fake and how many are real. The interface is modern, simple and easy to use, you simply enter your Twitter handle and you’re away.
  2. Tweepi – Tweepi is a great tool to use after using Twitter Audit as it enables you to wean out those fake followers notably the ones whose last tweet is listed as ‘unknown/never’ or hasn’t tweeted in years. The site gives you good insight into the quality of your followers; how many followers they have and when they last tweeted, as well as options to add them to one of your lists or unfollow them. You can also do many additional options but as part of a premium plan. Sign up or login via a Twitter account that you are already logged in with.
  3. Google Analytics – This one of course you probably already know about but do you really make good use of it? This is a really insightful tool especially for small business owners who tend to do most of the senior jobs themselves. Free to use, and once set up properly you would be able to analyse the quality of traffic coming to your website via your social media channels through the use of demographics, locations, times of day, bounce rate, click throughs and much more.
  4. Facebook Insights – Again, another tool that you probably know about and is fantastic when looked at properly; It shows you when your fans are more likely to be on Facebook so it tells you the most effective time to post. Also, a summary of your posts and the engagement it received so ultimately you can see at a glance which ones were more successful. Of course, you can see a bit more on the demographics of your audience and where they are located in addition to a lot of other bits and pieces.
  5. Twitter Analytics – Only recently have Twitter put a greater focus on analytics. Once signed in and from your Tweets page you can hover over the faded graph symbol inside each tweet to view the level of engagement; how many times a tweet has been viewed and how people have engaged; whether through Retweets, Favourites, Link Clicks.
  6. Tweetstats – This tool, although the website looks slightly suspicious, is actually a good egg and a great way of analysing other peoples accounts ie. Your competitors. Enter the twitter handle you want to analyse and wait whilst the ‘faeries work their magic’ then through the use of  lots of small but brightly coloured graphs and hashtag clouds you can see when the account is most active, what days, times and who with as well as hashtags that are most commonly used.

We hope you found this insight helpful. If there are any free tools you’ve found that you find really work for you share the knowledge and let us know in the comments below or tweet us! @carvillcreative

CASE STUDY: Luxury brand Burberry ahead of the competition with digital innovation

Image Taken From Burberry Website
Image Taken From Burberry Website

When it comes to digital there are a whole load of possibilities with how retail brands can choose to approach the area and how creative they can be.

This is a beautiful space that can offer brands the chance to shine and think out of the box in terms of marketing to their consumers. Where we are now is that the platforms themselves have developed hugely and social advertising is becoming more popular.

Brands are also making greater use of newer social media platforms like Snapchat which offers marketers a chance to target the younger consumer through images and short videos.

There are many good examples of retailers embracing social media and creating really good and creative content on a regular basis – Burberry is a great example of what could be achieved when digital is fully embraced. Not just placing themselves where their target audience is online but also engaging with them in a way that can open up a whole new shopping experience.

This post is based around a recent news article headline which said;

“Rival luxury brands have yet to catch up with Burberry on digital innovation”

So…. we thought it would be a good chance to analyse why they have done so well and see what sort of strategy they have in place.

Speaking to analysts for the company’s trading update for the last six months, Carol Fairweather acknowledged that rival brands were spending more on digital, but said Burberry’s “embedded” approach was a cut above the rest.

“Digital is embedded right through the organisation in everything we do. So yes, other people are beginning to invest in digital, but have they got the same advantage to the fact that it’s absolutely embedded in everything?”

This isn’t just a boastful statement, the financial figures speak for themselves;

  • Burberry have seen an exceptional rise in sales being “almost 14% higher than the rest of the luxury fashion market”
  • As well as accrediting a 9% year-on-year sales bump to their personalised efforts in this area.

And Carol Fairweather is right about another thing, it is literally embedded into everything; from the Company culture – 70% of the London HQ are aged 30 and under and are all encouraged to peruse Social Media on a daily basis. CEO Christopher Bailey often publishes webinars to all staff on how the company is doing and what creative initiatives are coming up next.

The stores themselves are digitally integrated; with digital chips around the store that activate as the consumer moves through the store, kicking off catwalk shows and fashion displays on mirrors.

Christopher Bailey (CEO And Chief Creative Officer) used an interesting choice of words when he said that he had wanted to ‘weave digital into the fabric of the business’.

From the conception of their first Facebook page in 2009 to having a presence on Google+,Twitter, Tumblr, Pinterest, Instagram, Youtube and now Snapchat and by being present on all these different channels, the company have managed to harness the attention of their key target market.

Burberry have approached social media in the way they probably would when creating a new fashion piece; Taking an item and turning it into the best it can possibly be. They use social media to provide, behind the scenes footage, discussions with Christopher Bailey and live stream runway shows, giving followers an intimate insight into the brand.

In an interview with GQ Christopher Bailey said of the company digital approach;

“We had realised that we had created a lot of platforms that only exist online so we decided we had to bring these to life. Our approach to the store was to make a bridge between the online and offline experience. Today I think we’re less concerned about where we actually shop, and more concerned about the experience we have while we’re shopping.”

Through these activities it is clear that Burberry have fully embraced innovative marketing techniques and as a result have managed to almost blur the boundary between its online environment and physical stores by providing followers an all-round digital experience by marrying technology and retail environment in a fascinating, creative and intrinsic way.

At the time of writing, Burberry are due to launch a special Snapchat series from LA and all week have provided followers with short video teasers by Fashion Models Naomi Campbell, Jourdan Dunn and Cara Delavigne introducing the upcoming segment.

So it’s easy to see why Burberry have been so successful! By sharing so much with their special online fans they have managed to keep up with the modern digital age and in turn boost their profits too.

We look forward to keeping an eye on Burberry and how they embrace the newer social media networks and what creative they come up with!

As always leave a comment below and if you have any questions about how to market your business online using Social Media then you can drop us a tweet @CarvillCreative

WhatsApp – Fast, Personal and Highly Engaged

whatsappFirst things first – What is WhatsApp?

WhatsApp Messenger is a cross-platform mobile messaging app which allows you to exchange messages without having to pay for SMS. Instant message is now hugely popular around the globe and has seen significant growth over the past few years. A new report from Juniper Research states that by 2018, instant messaging via mobiles will account for 75% of traffic – or 63 trillion messages! Accordingly to ComScore, WhatsApp is the most popular instant messaging service, followed closely by its Chinese equivalent, WeChat.

Who Can Use it?

Anyone with a smartphone. WhatsApp is available to download via the App Store and is available for all iPhone users, BlackBerry, Android, Windows Phones and Nokia.

How is instant messaging free?

Because WhatsApp Messenger uses the same internet data plan that you use for email and web browsing, therefore there is no cost to message.

WhatsApp was Bought by Facebook in 2014 for a whopping $19bn. The platform is one of the buzziest around with more than 700m monthly active users and carries 30bn messages per day. ‘A survey of 4,000 smartphone users by On Device found that 44% of users in five countries used WhatsApp at least once a week’.* (*Telegraph – Jan 2015)

Currently there is an annual charge for WhatsApp of $0.99 – however, this is only applicable in the US. It is likely that as adoption grows and more people become dependent on the platform, given that the platform has vowed never to carry advertising – then it may be that this low fee is rolled out globally – or even raised to assist with monetising the platform.

Based on the stats above, we know for sure that people are using it. In fact it is now arguably one of the world’s fastest-growing communication apps. The question is – how many of us are using it for business purposes?

WhatsApp for Business

As a communication tool, WhatsApp ticks all the right boxes. Being able to communicate directly with employees, clients, customers and colleagues by:

  • Chatting in real-time
  • Sending multimedia
  • Receiving and sending of voice and video messages
  • Transmitting messages to groups of up to 100 people

How to get started with WhatsApp

From your smartphone download the app fro the App Store.  You can then add an avatar to set up your profile as you wish. And then it’s a case of simply connecting with people in your network who are already on WhatsApp.

Two great assets of instant messaging are the ease and speed. It is said that it takes just 90 seconds for someone to respond to an instant message – whereas the average is 90 minutes for email.

These attractive elements mean that more and more business are finding it a useful way to keep in touch with groups of customers and clients.

However it’s important to be aware and remember that this platform has not been set up as a business resource. It’s for this reason that direct advertising and soliciting business has been strongly prohibited and actually violates the terms of its service. There is absolutely nothing to stop you sharing blogs, images, and engaging directly with customers, as long as you aren’t deemed to be hard selling.

In this day and age engaging directly with your customer or client is imperative. Keeping the conversation going and listening to their needs is all part of being a modern online social business. WhatsApp can assist with that – as ‘Rare Diamond’ diamond creators have demonstrated:

Case Study: Engaging with your clients:

A story from The Telegraph this year explained how diamond maker ‘Rare Pink’ uses WhatsApp to keep up a rapport with their clients.

Diamond Pink found WhatsApp to be a very personal source of communication with their customers, allowing them to stay in touch 24 hours a day and at short notice. In the article Rare Diamond used the example of a female city trader, who was a client, choosing to use WhatsApp as her source of communication. The lady in question was in touch with her assigned Rare Pink consultant via WhatsApp as she was unable to make calls at work and her emails were monitored. WhatsApp allowed her to privately keep in touch with her consultant about final amendments to her ring and resulted in her spending a great deal with the brand. And of course, because the platform allows not only text conversation, with no character limits – and also enables the sharing of images and video – (WhatsApp sends and receives 500 million images every day, compared with Facebook’s 350 million) – a simple and quick way to share visual content, ie: the design and development of the bespoke item being design – and of course to get instant feedback from the client too.

Engaging with your team:

WhatsApp isn’t only great for client liaison, it’s also a great internal tool that can almost work like an intranet within your business. Allowing you to communicate and chat via real time with colleagues and employees. The group chat feature is arguably the most useful business aspect of WhatsApp – allowing you to chat within a group of up to 100 people at once.

To Start a Group Chat:

  • Open WhatsApp and go to the Chats screen.
  • At the top of the chats screen, tap the New Group button.
  • Type in a subject or title.
  • Add group participants by selecting +, or by typing the name of the contact.  You will automatically be able to add anyone from your contacts database – and so it may mean that you have to add contacts first. They will receive an invitation to join the Group chat.
  • Tap Create to finish creating the group.

Whether you are using WhatsApp to communicate internally with colleagues or externally with clients there are some other handy WhatsApp features that are worth knowing for business use:

You can email an entire message history to someone:

For iOS users go to Settings and chooseEmail chat history‘.

For Android, click on the menu option in a conversation (it’s on the bottom-right of the screen), go to ‘More‘ and select Email Conversation, before entering the address of the recipient.

You can back up WhatsApp conversations:

Go to the Settings menu, choose ‘Chat preferences’, and then click on the Chat history backup option.

You can broadcast a WhatsApp to many contacts:

If you need to quickly get a message out to more than one person at a time – e.g. ‘Emergency meeting at 12pm’ – the easiest way to do this is to ‘broadcast’ a message in WhatsApp.

Select the Broadcast message option in the more menu and select the contacts you want to send it to. Then type your message and hit Send.

Whilst WhatsApp purposefully doesn’t promote itself as a business platform – and the founders have vowed that it won’t run advertising on the channel – [even following acquisition from Facebook, Mark Zuckerberg has agreed to keep the platform ad free] – there are some useful ways businesses can utilise the service for business purposes, beyond the direct sell.

WhatsApp Chat Tips and Facts:

  • There is no limit to the number of groups you can create.
  • Every group has one or more admins. Only admins can add or remove participants.
  • Only admins can make other participants admins.
  • If the original admin leaves the group, a new admin will be randomly assigned.
  • Only message people you know – don’t ‘cold message’ anyone for business purposes.
  • Keep groups targeted. All members of a group receive all notifications. There is an option for any member of a group chat to Mute notifications for either 8 hours, 1 week or 1 year.

6 Tips On How To Improve Your Social Media Engagement on Twitter

Multicolored Group of Speech Bubbles

So you have your social media accounts set up and are updating on a regular basis but why are your accounts not receiving any likes or followers?

We have already written a Blog about what you could do to improve engagement on Twitter but this post aims to give you a few ideas on what you could do across all of your Social Media profiles.

1. Complete your Social Media profiles

It might seem quite obvious but this is an easy thing to overlook. Ensure all the relevant information is filled out such as your name, where you are and website links as well as uploading a suitable profile picture and cover photo. Thinking about the more common social media platforms such as Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn and Google+ you may need to add additional information such as interests, a short bio and more importantly, you might need to ensure your website is verified (specifically on your Google+ profile).

2. Research your Competitors

Do you know who your competitors are? Make a list on Twitter and add their profiles to that list – remember you don’t have to ‘follow’ your competitors in order to add them to this list. Bookmark the main social media pages for your competition in your web browser so you can pop in whenever you have the time and see how they engage with their audiences. What sort of content are they posting? How regularly are they engaging with their fans/followers? What is it they are doing differently? Is there anything you could learn here?

3. Connect with customers, influencers and other industry specialists

You want to make your social networks really work as a network.  So look at how you can be connecting with relevant audiences via social channels too.  You may already have quite a lot of information about your customers via your database – so if you have their email addresses, you can search for them on Twitter and other social networks that way too.

Also, if you know who your key influencers are from other marketing means such as website registrations and email subscriptions – you can also go find them on social media channels too.

Search for industry blogs and look at the main authors and contributors and add them to your social media profiles too. Take some time to do your research, seeing who follows who and topics being discussed.

4. Interact and appreciate your audience

Everyone likes a compliment every now and then so as well as posting on a regular basis remember to ‘Like’ and ‘RT’ or ‘Favourite’ others’  updates. And if people engage with your updates, take the time to send them a message or tweet them back to say thank you.  Also – you could take a look at their profile and find out what their interests are so that when you respond you can ask them something or say something relevant on a more personal level.

5. Find communities and participate in them

There are many groups and communities on Facebook and LinkedIn and a lot of them are easy to find via the search function. Type in industry relevant keywords and see what comes up, but don’t just join any old community, have a good look through to find out more about the community or group and how many contributors there are, in order to find out how active and up to date it is. Do note that some communities and groups are ‘closed’ – which means you may not be added to the group immediately as the group moderator will have to accept your request to join.  You’ll be alerted once you’re accepted – so keep a watch out for those.

6. Respond to your stats

Look at your Facebook Insights, what times are your posts more popular? Post at those times for a week and see if that helps engagement, if not, tweak it. Review what type of posts are more popular than others? It might be that a random post about FAQ’s proved more popular than one you posted about a cute looking cat (or vice versa) so use this knowledge to your advantage and give the audience what they want!

Hopefully, these tips have given you some ideas in terms of generating more engagement on Twitter. Let us know how you get on in the comments below and do share your tips for improving engagement too.

Tweet Us @carvillcreative

Marketing and social media – news, views, tips and advice…