Monthly Archives: October 2013

Social Media – Delivering targeted messages Part 1:

 Localise, segment and personalise your social media engagement for more effective marketing

By our Guest Blogger:  Tamsin Oxford on Sep 24, 2013

For organisations to effectively engage with their consumers, segmenting and then personalising social media content is vital

The core of any business is the customer. What corporations and their brand stakeholders have realised is that the traditional broadcast model for engagement is no longer effective or efficient.

Organisations need to gain insight into audiences, segment their social engagement into specific groups and appeal to a diverse demographic without compromising brand integrity or messaging.

This feature is the first of three examining how to create customised experiences for customers across different platforms. In this feature we are considering how a business can accurately identify core groups, get to know their audiences and segment customers into niche collections. Sound complex? Not necessarily.

“Social media offers interaction that traditional media could never give to the marketer,” says Devon Stanton, PR and Promotions Manager at Megarom [], “In addition, there is an impressive range of toolsets available that can analyse your social media audience and pull out vital demographic and interaction data. By utilising this information, you’ll be able to craft your social media to best suit your audience.”

A white paper by Experian offers a superb breakdown as to what segmentation is and why it is of value to the business. They define it as “the process of dividing your database into groups based on single or multiple criteria.”

This offers value in that you can drill down into the essentials of the client for improved targeting and flexibility. What better way to locate and address the most profitable customers and ensure that there is relevance in this communication? The right message to the right people at the right time – it works, that’s why it’s a cliché.

The business can no longer afford to be generic. A bland message directed across all social platforms may hit one or two people along the way, but it is unlikely to generate brand loyalty or encourage customers to identify with the brand itself.

“Take the time to understand what motivates people to share and talk about topics,” says Scott Gray, Head of Planning at Quirk [], “Interests are so fragmented that being generic doesn’t work anymore. To get messages to spread across social networks, brands have to have a point of view and get this to the most relevant group of people. If you’re not relevant, you’re dead.”

Steps to segmentation

Jeremy Waite, Head of Social Strategy at Adobe EMEA, offers a four-step process by which organisations can identify core groups and segment them efficiently that include:

  1. Influence – build relationships with key influencers
  2. Data – data helps brands identify which content drives conversation
  3. Optimising content – using this information helps to streamline content development that says the right things
  4. Measuring impact – stay aware of the impact of social efforts to continually drive conversation and stay relevant and targeted

The many faces of influence

“Building relationships with key influencers is vital,” says Waite, “Data shows that only 6% of fans regularly engage with companies they like on Facebook. By identifying the people most likely to drive conversation, and the types of posts and messages that engage these influences, this helps to increase engagement.”

Veronica Gross del Rio, EMEAI Social Media Manager at Interface  [], agrees and adds, “Begin determining which social sites you should participate in and what topics are trending or popular. Track how your customers are using social media. We are a B2B company that designs and makes carpet tiles, for us interior designers and architects are the key people who specify our products so we need to convince them more than we need to convince the final buyer. Having the most accurate profile of them on social media is vital.”

It may be obvious that a business needs to identify its core markets and platforms to ensure it markets products effectively, but social media analysis and communications are not the forte of every organisation. It is here that solutions such as Quirk, Codestar and Adobe Social come into play. These companies have made it their business to understand the market and what the organisation needs in order to effectively understand, track and target their customers.

“Successful brands like Starbucks, Xbox and Dell have reduced most of their reporting to only one page that includes all the relevant metrics and information that they need to know about their customers,” says Waite, “These are known as the five ‘W’ – a strategy that Adobe Consulting has also adopted.”

These five ‘W’ are:

  • Who
  • What
  • When
  • Why
  • Where

Who are people talking about, what are they saying, why are they talking about you, when did the conversations begin and where did they take place.

“We design specific apps and landing pages for various products and services advertised on Facebook and often for specific consumer groups,” says Vinny Pianna, Director of Facebook specialists Codastar. “We find that ads for specific customer groups are far more successful than general ones. To segment this effectively we have looked at where we are successful and worked hard to build on this. The key to success is to tailor your messaging, advertising and landing pages for each group.”

Understand the core

To succeed in creating an effective marketing strategy across social media your organisation must ensure it is relevant, targeted, on trend and specific. To do so you need to listen to your customers and understand what they are interested in and make sure that you are communicating with them on the right platforms.

“The web has allowed people to form groups and communities around common interests,” says Gray, “If you’re into dressing up like Batman and singing karaoke, there’s probably a community of people like you. I think that more effective targeting is driven along lines of interest and passions rather than race, gender or age. People are the new conduits of media.”

Interface used these tactics to develop a targeted social media campaign to launch a new product. They created specific content for each social media channel that tapped into their unique qualities and the campaign has been a huge success as a result. Gross del Rio believes that it is this very targeted approach that has made all the difference to the success of their campaign.

“I think that knowing who your audience is and understanding the goals of the campaign will net you far better return on investment,” concludes Stanton, “The data is there to help you make better marketing decisions so use it to maximise results.”

In part two of this series will ask the experts how to take this concept one step further to tailor social media messaging to ensure you appeal to different needs, motives and preferences.

The 4th annual Corporate Social Media Summit Europe

Dec 4, 2013 – Dec 5, 2013, London

Become a social business: For superior marketing response, sharper corporate decision-making, enhanced innovation and a happier, more loyal customer

Related Articles

Why do your customers Like your brand?

We mean to help you so that in turn you help us

We mean to help you so that in turn you help us

Can the Law of Reciprocity Make or Break Your Business?

We mean to help you so that in turn you help us

We mean to help you so that in turn you help us

Understanding the Law of Reciprocity

article by: Tim T Dingle BSc (Hons) MIBiol PGCE MBA
CDO  Academy of Vocational and Professional Training

Have you ever wondered why some people seem luckier than others? Have you ever been (mildly) annoyed that others attract more referrals than you? There has got to be a reason, hasn’t there? Well a good definition of ‘luck’ is when action meets opportunity. People that help other people every chance (they get) almost always come out on top. I am amazed by the simple gestures of holding a door for someone, returning a lost wallet and giving someone a referral produces 2 things:  First, the feeling that the person on the receiving end of your kindness is compelled to reciprocate; and second, you create a positive thoughts/feelings about your self-image. There’s something very powerful at play that causes this phenomenon.

Psychologists call it The Law of Reciprocity and it says that when someone does something nice for you, you will have a deep-rooted psychological urge to do something nice in return. It is buried deep inside our DNA and is an evolutionary survival mechanism. As a matter of fact, you may even reciprocate with a gesture far more generous than their original good deed. You can try and resist this law, but your DNA will intervene and you will more than likely still feel that you need to respond in kind to a good deed. If that’s true (and it is) then it would be to your advantage to understand the right way – and the wrong way to take advantage of this powerful law.

Do you think that the Law of Reciprocity can make or break your business?

Diane Shawe the CEO of the Academy of Vocational and Professional Training states “the law of reciprocity is like a karmic “piggy bank”. What you broadcast into the universe, whether it is positive or negative, is a deposit due to be returned to you. Your deposits may be returned quickly, without the effects of past and future deposits added”  but then she goes on to say “How then do we define the purpose of Business Etiquette?”  interesting combination.

For this reason, it is wise to bank positive deposits often.

As someone who is running (or is aspiring to run) their own business, there are a couple of ways you can invest in the use of reciprocity: the Constructive Way and the Destructive Way.

The Constructive Way

80% students get qualified
One of the hardest parts of a new business relationship is building trust and rapport. To do that, there are some things you have to establish up front with a potential client to show them you’re one of the good guys. These fall in the area of intent, empathy and credibility. So, if you really are one of the good guys, you can show people what you’re made of simply by being friendly, honest, and helpful. That’s the idea behind a lot of the freebies that bloggers give away all the time. By giving something that’s of legitimate value away with no expectation of compensation, you’re achieving several things.

  • If the material or help you’re giving away is of high quality, you’re establishing yourself as a person of credibility – someone who knows what they’re talking about.
  • You’re demonstrating empathy by showing the recipient that you understand they’re looking for answers. You understand that they need help – and you’re someone who’s willing to give it to them.
  • You’re showing that your intent is not just to get into their wallets – but to sincerely help.

In the process, you stimulate the DNA program of The Law of Reciprocity. When you establish yourself as an honest, sincere, and giving person – you make it much easier for people to buy from you when you have something to offer. It is at that point they already like you, they have seen that you know your stuff, and they trust you. All that makes it much easier for them to choose you.

The Destructive Way
3 HR JUMP START BUSINESS BOOTCAMP WITH GEWUK 18 NOV 2013While responding to The Law of Reciprocity is hard-wired into us, most people aren’t stupid, but can often be inexperienced or too trusting. If the Law is exploited as a tactic, they often experience a lot of discomfort and dis-ease about the situation. Even though I use the word ‘exploiting’ ( I don’t believe that most people conspire to use this law) you might best understand it as someone being false’ pretense, a front; you are pretending to be sincere and helpful, therefore only to trick people into feeling a sense of obligation. Poor salespeople are easy to find – and when someone is using reciprocity as a pressure tactic, it’s obvious. You’ve been there as a consumer.

I’ll bet you don’t have to go back very far in your memory bank to remember a time when someone seemed a little too nice. Even though they were doing something positive for you, you still instinctively didn’t trust them. That’s because their intentions weren’t sincere and you sensed it. Using the Law that way may trick someone from time to time, but it likely won’t lead to repeat sales, good will, or referrals. Pressured prospects tend to disappear quietly.

So the right way to gain maximum benefit from the Law of Reciprocity is to use it sincerely and for the right reasons: to help others and to grow your relationships. There are a lot of aggressive sales and marketing people out there, but listen to them with caution. Consumers are smarter than ever before. Being aggressive tends to offend and alienate. Instead, aim for active and inclusivity. What’s the difference? Aggressive is relentless and pushy. Active and exclusivity is, well, active listening and keeping them involved.

If what you’re selling is truly of value, you don’t have to be a bully to get people to buy. You just have to work hard to get your name out there and develop your brand. Since you are one of the good guys, ask yourself; What small thing can I provide today that my customers can really use?

When you come up with an answer – give it to them. It’s the right thing to do – and because of The Law of Reciprocity, your customers will gladly return that generosity when you do have something to sell.

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ISSUU – Vtf newsletter nov 2013 issue 1 by AVPT GLOBAL

ISSUU - Vtf newsletter nov 2013 issue 1 by AVPT GLOBAL

ISSUU – Vtf newsletter nov 2013 issue 1 by AVPT GLOBAL.

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AVPT  is back for more after being awarded A High Impact Badge of Honour by the Global Entrepreneur Week in 2012

AVPT awarded High Impact Badge of Honour by Global Entrepreneur  Week 2012

This year we have set up a range of 3hr ‘Jump Start’ your business bootcamp in support of the Global Entrepreneur Week starting on the 18th – 24th  November 2013

3 hour business startup bootcamp 2012

Last year 361 organisations ran activities in 2012 that met the

High Impact criteria set by Global Entrepreneurship Week – AVPT along with other High Impact providers was congratulated this week and awarded their high impact badge of honour.

Global Entrepreneurship Week is the world’s largest campaign to promote entrepreneurship, taking place in 115 countries.  In 2012, the campaign took place 12-18 November and Academy of Vocational and Professional Training supported the week by launching a 3 hour Business Startup Bootcamp which was attended by a group of candidates who enroled on the GEW website.

In the UK, the campaign is hosted by Youth Business International, a global network of initiatives that help young entrepreneurs to start their own business, in partnership with Barclays.

The theme for 2012 was: Pass it On!  AVPT supported Global Entrepreneurship Week UK to pass on the practical help & support needed by early start-ups and individuals who are considering taking the plunge. GEW’s aim was to create a collaborative, local and practical week which enables people to learn more about the wealth of support that is available to entrepreneurs in the UK.  Read more…


Timetable for November 2013



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Three Ideas to Simplify Your Digital World

Information management courses with avptglobak

Information management courses with avptglobal

Sharing a Little Bit of Magic that we have just found

By Tim T Dingle BSc (Hons) MIBiol PGCE MBA

Chief Development Officer at the Academy of Vocational and Professional Training

If you are a small business owner or a serial entrepreneur then I’m guessing you don’t have a lot of time on your hands because you wear too many hats and juggle too many tasks. Agreed? So, in order to be really successful, you have to be both efficient and effective. You should try to set your mind free of mundane tasks and be dedicated to being high on creativity, innovation and execution. The three areas in which I spend the vast majority of my day are communicating, analysis and researching information. If you can streamline this management of information, learn to adapt quickly to the changing digital world and work effectively, then you have the key to efficiency. Here are my top 3 ideas for improving your efficiency:

1. Learn to schedule emails.

If you truly understand email marketing, you know that there is an optimal time to send an email, depending on who is getting it. In order to ensure your email is actually read (rather than ending up in the bin) you need to send it when the recipient is most likely to read it.  The solution is to crank out the email, and then queue it up to send first thing in the morning. I no longer have to remember to send the email in the morning, have less concern that the email will be buried in the inbox and don’t ruin anyone’s evening with an email request from me.

2. Online Training Courses

Save time and simplify- train online. Today there are mnay thousands of eLearning (and more importantly mLearning, m for mobile) courses for everything from painting to digital photography and journalism. There is a plethora of online training courses for various aspects of business, from building a web enterprise to business accounting. These courses have benefits for existing organisations and for people dreaming of starting up their own business empire. The phenomenon of the internet means that people can be trained online as easily as they can learn at a training centre saving time, money and energy. But make sure it is a proper accredited course. To gain access to an online course all you need is to subscribe and have an internet connection. This means you can learn new business skills from your office, your armchair at home or perhaps, for a few lucky people, from a beach front café.

The variety of business courses available continues to increase and this is great news if you want to eLearn, anytime and anyplace. Some course providers offer training in financial reporting for people requiring time management and everything from writing reports and proposals to How to be an entrepreneur. The excellent range of online courses means that prices are generally quite competitive.

3. Cloud Magic to find and retrieve information.

For many years I have used my inboxes as catch all storage repositories, only to find the search and retrieval process cumbersome, if not impossible. How frustrating is it, knowing that you stored some digital notes about a client meeting, but you have no idea where?  I have starting using the excellent CloudMagic ( ) where you have one interface to search through all of your personal data repositories like Gmail, Outlook, Evernote, Dropbox and more. If you’re one who worries about your digital privacy, this service may not be for you.  Of course, make sure you read and are comfortable with their privacy policy before proceeding.

 In a small or medium size business it is clear that the amount of information created will continue to grow exponentially. Without tools, training and technologies helping you cut through the digital noise, you will damage your ability to innovate and grow your business.

Don’t let yourself drown in information or let the world change before you very eyes. Organise and improve the structure of your digital communications, digitial learning and retrieval with these three ideas.

Mobile Learning, Mobile Earning

Mobile Learning, Mobile Earning