Tag Archives: twitter

Spring clean your social media

30 Mar


We all know that this time of year is the time to get the dusters out and begin our spring cleaning. However, if you’re looking for employment then it might be time to clean out your social media before you start on the house.

A massive 93%* of hiring managers are reviewing applicant’s social media before making a hiring decision. It’s important you can give the best impression of yourself, whether that’s through Facebook, Twitter or LinkedIn. You may think that it’s best to have complete privacy on your social media pages just be aware that having a positive page can really work in your favour and make sure it really is set to private.

Facebook profiles canblog be easily accessible to employers and can give a lot away about the person they’ve interviewed. Be aware of pictures that you are tagged in and make sure you don’t have anything that can be seen as offensive. The recruiter can use this as a way of seeing what you spend your spare time doing and probably won’t be impressed by your lad’s holiday in Marbella last month. They’ll also be focusing on the way you communicate so it’s important to check posts and avoid misspelling or ‘text speak’. Don’t forget that on Facebook you can also see pages that a person has ‘liked’, so if you vaguely remember liking something rude or inappropriate a few years back then I would go and double check.

The same rules apply for Twitter, be careful of what you are saying in your bio and tweets. Don’t forget that you can follow the company you are applying for to get up to date information and to show your interest. Twitter has a great feature where you can ‘pin’ your best tweet to the top of your page and really give a good impression to on-lookers.

With LinkedIn employers can quickly see if there is a difference to the qualifications you’ve listed and the ones you’ve put on your CV – honesty is key. If you’re not using LinkedIn at the moment then it’s a great platform for job seeking where you can showcase your skills, experience and connections so have a look at creating a profile.

Remember every tweet, post or comment can affect the employer’s opinion of you and possibly ruin your chances at securing that job! If you’re unsure, then ask a friend or family member to have a look over what can be seen and the impression your social media gives off.




Social Media and Personal Branding

23 Mar

Social Media Stock

Many employers will search for you on the internet before they even interview you. Here are some top tips for making a good first impression through your online profiles.

–       Facebook Privacy settings

You probably don’t want employers looking at your embarrassing photos from last weekend or those status updates about what you ate for dinner last night. Make sure your privacy settings are set correctly by following this quick guide.

–       Websites, blogs and Twitter

Websites, blogs and Twitter are a great way to build your online presence. Your online profiles are an opportunity to make a good first impression and employers will often make assumptions about you based on your profile picture, choice of background and the things you post.

Don’t write anything that you wouldn’t want an employer to see and make sure to check through your old posts for anything which might harm your chances of getting a job.

–       Email addresses.

Make sure your email address sounds professional. Employers will often make assumptions about a person based on their choice of email so the safest bet is to stick to your real name or a combination of initials and surname. Professional sounding addresses will go largely unnoticed but a silly or complicated email will stick out like a sore thumb!

–       LinkedIn.

If you don’t already have one you might want to consider starting a LinkedIn page.  LinkedIn is a professional networking site which allows you to build an online CV which employers can look at.

Just how important is Social Media to business?

18 Feb

Nowadays most of us use social media in our personal lives.  It might be that we sit back and just see what our friends are up to, or we might post regular updates and photos.  Most people who actively choose not to use social media are at least aware of it.  But many small business owners haven’t thought about using social media for their business.  So how important is it?  Does a business that’s doing fine without it need to start making time to set up and maintain social media sites?  And does every new business need to get set up – and at what point?

I am a self confessed Facebook addict (at my baby shower one of the options on the sweepstake was “how long until photos of the baby are on Facebook?” – it was about an hour and a half after he was born) and use it for my personal life, my own business, and the Opportunity Plus South West pages.  I was running my business for quite a while before I set up my facebook page – I think I was concerned about hassling friends with constant updates about my business.  But when I did it the increase in sales was incredible.  Now I rely almost entirely on Facebook (much to my partner’s relief as I don’t ask him to update my website all the time – on Facebook I can do it myself).  It brings me customers from all over the country, it’s free and easy to manage by myself, and I’m always on Facebook anyway so it doesn’t feel like work.  I haven’t been using any other social media, but am starting to now – I can already feel myself becoming addicted to Pinterest, but Twitter is still a bit of a mystery.

Nowadays, when I want to buy someone a gift but I’m not sure what, I go to Facebook and ask for ideas through the Supermums Craft Fair.  Anyone who makes/sells something that fits my brief, comments with a link to their page/product and I check it out.  I rarely go to that person’s website – if they even have one.  If I know what I want I would usually start out looking on Amazon – again not even going to business websites.  If I need information or advice I might write it in my Facebook status or in a specific group rather than Googling it.  So if you ask me, being on social media is far more important than having an all singing all dancing website.  It’s also cheaper and easier.

Now, accepting that social media is important for business is one thing, but HOW important is it?  Building up a network of followers is great for spreading the word about your special offers and building brand awareness, but having thousands of likes isn’t necessarily everything it’s cracked up to be if those likes don’t translate into paying customers.  So, do spend time building a following on social media, but don’t let it eat into the time you need to spend doing your core business and actually making money.

Each social networking site works in a very different way and no business needs to use every kind of social media, but you need to think about the one that will work best for you and your business.  If you create lots of beautiful images through your work (for example if you have an arts and crafts business) then Pinterest could be for you, but if you offer a service based business you might be better off on Twitter.  Have a look at all the different options, see what your competitors use, ask your customers which sites they are already on, and have a go yourself and see what you find the most user-friendly.

Which social media sites do you use?  Which have you found most successful, or easiest to use?  Are there any you are determined to start using but need a nudge to get going on it?

Check out some of the interviews we have completed for the blog with businesses that use social media: Rocket & Co, Just for Tiny People, The Very Vintage Hire Company.

Where do I start with marketing?

10 Sep

One of the most common questions we are asked here at Opportunity Plus South West, is “How do I market my business?”.  It doesn’t matter how fantastic your business idea is if your customers don’t know about it!!

Market research

If you haven’t done any market research yet – get out and do it!  Work out who your ideal customer base is and go and speak to them!  Find out if they want what you are offering and get some feedback on your products, services, and prices.  Even if you plan to work completely online, you need to speak to people face to face so they can see your products, and you can gauge their reactions to them.  Don’t just ask friends and family, they won’t want to hurt your feelings so might not give honest feedback.  Get online and share links to your website on forums and social media and ask people for feedback on what your offer, your prices, the design and content of your website, everything!

Completing your market research should help you identify your target market, and will introduce you to some potential customers.  If you give out freebies or testers then people should remember you, and if they like what they see, they will hopefully recommend you to their friends and family.  Stay in touch with the people who help you at the start, let them know when you are launching your business or new products, maybe give them a special offer as a thank you.  Word of mouth is the best marketing – it’s free and people trust their friends’ recommendations.

It might be that you start your business small and treat the first few months as market research, and then when you have built a customer base and know what they want, grow the business.  Read about Liza, a single Mum who retrained as a mobile hairdresser and now owns a barbershop.

Social Media

We are lucky to live in a time where you can use social media to contact large numbers of people for FREE!  Set up a Facebook page, a twitter feed, and a blog, and make sure you use them!  You can tell all your followers about new products and special offers quickly and for free.  You can update your photos and information yourself, meaning you can change your mind about exactly what you do!  When you’re getting started you could use your facebook page to do some market research too.

Read about Rocket & Co. – a small business which mainly markets itself through Facebook.


Nowadays customers expect most businesses to have a website.  It is worth getting some sort of website up as soon as possible – it doesn’t have to be anything fancy – it might just be a single page with links to your facebook page and so on, or it might link straight to a blog.  If you have a shop somewhere like eBay, etsy, folksy, or notonthehighstreet then that can be your website – again you can set this up yourself (or get in touch if you need a hand).  Check out these sites to discover your competitors – is what you’re doing already available and for what price?  How is your product different and better?

Read about Hose Solutions Ltd – a business which started out as an eBay shop run out of a spare room, which has grown into a successful Limited Company in just 5 years.

Business Cards

Get some business cards printed and hand them out to everyone you meet!  Make sure they include your name and contact details (phone, email, website, address if applicable) and make it clear what you do (or roughly what you do – you might not be completely sure yet if you are still in the early stages!)

Get out there!

Go to events and talk to as many people as you can!  Get a market stall for a day as a great way of reaching lots of potential customers at once.  Even if you don’t sell anything you will get feedback from people, and you can see what is popular and what no-one is interested in – it probably won’t be what you expect!


Remember to always be confident and enthusiastic about your business – if you aren’t then no-one else is going to be!  If you’re having an off day, the beauty of self employment is that you can often just do something else that day – but don’t keep putting it off forever.  You need to be feeling positive to effectively market yourself and your business.  You might get negative reactions, but you need these so you can reassess your business or marketing style to get a more positive reaction next time.  If you are not confident going out and speaking to people, you may want to ask someone else to go and get feedback on your behalf.

If you would like to speak to someone about your marketing plan, or how to use social media to market your business, or just get some honest feedback on your products or business idea, give us a call on 0800 043 2440.  We could even arrange a focus group for you.