What’s personal branding got to do with it? 

So what about your personal brand?
I was recently asked about some thoughts on personal branding and decided to share a few more as I think it could be helpful and relevant to you. Especially if you are embarking on a new blog.

I’ve talked a little about some of the things you should think about when starting a blog, but now I want to get you thinking about your personal brand.

1. What is personal branding? It’s simply the who, what and why you do what you do.

2. Why is it important? To be able to communicate who you are and what do with a clear message on what you are trying to achieve is important for yourself and engaging your audience.

3. What can I do to nail my personal brand? Get a pen and paper and write down words that you feel describe you, your gifts, your vision. Try to keep it to 2 or 3 sentences max. If it helps just answer who, what and why.

“A picture tells 1000 words” 

Think about the images you have across your blog, and social media platforms. Are they easily identifiable? Do they communicate something linking back to the who, what and why you do you? This could be translated in the colours you choose, a logo or a corresponding image that you use across each platform.

Ok, that’s a few thoughts from me on personal branding. What’s yours? Share below or join me next Friday for more discussion on growing with your brand.



Boost your business with Facebook review

Last week, I had the privilege of attending an afternoon event with Facebook & Instagram on how to boost your business using Facebook and Instagram, so I thought I’d share a few snapshots and thoughts that stood out from the day.

We had some free coffee! Big thank you to the the lovely guys over a @pactcoffee and the Instagram team for that. There was cake too! I may eaten a few of those.. cringe! Oh well, back to the gym on Monday! 🙂

We heard from Olly Sewell, SMB manager for Facebook UK and Ireland. 

Tanya Beckett did a fabulous job hosting the event and below are three of the entrepreneurs that gave testimony of their success using Facebook. I thought Tricia Cusden was by far the most interesting story on the panel with her make up brand Look Fabulous Forever.

They also gave delegates the opportunity to screen print an Instagram photo of their choice. I choose to have my own brand logo, Frame Your World, which is a new range of inspiring lifestyle products that I am launching this summer.

So I know I’ve rambled on about my experience of the event itself, but from a business perspective it really is the best way to go with advertising and connecting to your target market.

I am particularly impressed by the developments of Instagram as the iconic vintage logo has now been officially facebooked! Yes, grammar police I just did that. With a new white background and a brand new logo, which doesn’t seem to have hit it off with the majority of those attend the event the powers that be defended the move as important to fit in with the Facebook brand. Fair enough! I think change is a process and we will all love the new logo in no time. I’ve got used to it already! I did however find myself reminiscing to the moment I first used Instagram and the Polaroid background that showcased my instant snaps. Ah how times have changed…

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I was rather expected by the mention of rolling out an analytical side to Instagram for business as the relatively new ad platform continues to get into its stride. Instagram is by far one of the hottest channels right now with 400 million active users.

As you all know this is my favourite channel, but incase you need another reason to be on Instagram than its connected to the market leader of social networking. A pictures speaks a 1000 words, and is a universal language. Isn’t that something? I think so.

3 top tips on producing creative content for Instagram

1. Build your content with stories and facts in mind – people remember these things.

2. Be consistent – branded content over time my brand will build. Make sure you have a clear direction, colour scheme, theme and purpose behind every post you publish.

3. Thumpstopping content – when people are sliding through make a quick impact to catch people’s eye. Research from MIT suggest that you have 3 seconds to capture people’s attention, so don’t wait till the end of your add to present the diamond to your customer. Our culture is changing once again, so it’s time to get clear the etch a sketch board and start thinking mobile.

If you need some more reasons, then check out my last post on 3 reasons why you should be on Instagram.

I honestly believe that if you want to be savvy in building and growing your business then you really should consider testify out the Facebook or Instagram ad’s. Besides the menial fact that Facebook ad targeting has a reach of 6.5 billion every month. It’s one of the most targeted and cost efficient way to reach your customer in a very noisy marketplace.

3 quick tips on getting started with Facebook Ad Manager

1. Know your goal – what do you want to get from it? Be aware that a share is much more valuable than a like, and content that is mobile friendly and video will have the greatest reach and impact.

2. Know your audience – you need to know specifics of your target market to get the most out of your campaign

3. Set aside some time aside and log onto Blueprint – Facebook have provided a great resource for help you no matter what level you are starting from that will fully equip you with what you need to know about creating ads.

Hello from the other side!

Since moving to London in 2013, I decided to start a fresh and that meant a new blog. A place where I could comment and document my observations on brands and social media trends or platforms that caught my attention.

After much debate I decided to condense my work into one platform, and indeed I decided The Social Exchange would be the best place to do that.

I do have some cool posts on Brand Me Social, and if you’re interested in having a peek, then please find them here: https://brandmesocial.wordpress.com/

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Going forward you’ll find me right here, at The Social Exchange, so come back soon for more social media commentary and updates right here in my newly decorated home!

Are you looking for a savvy freelance social media or content marketing?

I am now available for social media managing, or content marketing work!

Email: leanne@thesocialexchange.com

Colouring within the lines

As a kid, I loved to colour. Art was my game, and colouring was my name. I still remember my big cousin teaching me how to colour within the lines, and that was a real gulp shock horror moment, for me. ‘You want me to stay within the lines?’ How boring!

In retrospect, I guess it paid off a few years later when I was one of the few who scraped through Advanced Higher Art back in 2002 – much to EVERYONE’s surprise (including my own). There were some real talented artists in the room too. As it turns out that that was the first year of our new curriculum, and we later discovered that every teacher in the area had misinterpreted the course wrong! If the teacher doesn’t understand it, how on earth will the student? Okay I digress. The point that I am trying to make is that sometimes it’s good to experiment outside the ridged lines of other people’s perceptions and ideas, and express ourselves by painting something new. Something original.

What if the idea you have works? What if moving location turns out to be the best move for you and the company you go on to work for? Can you imagine being Walt Disney and told that you were a rubbish illustrator, and then years later laughed out of the bank for his proposal to build Disney World.

I have never been much of a colour within the lines kind of gal, creatively speaking of course, and to be truthful, I’m glad. Going against the grain is never easy, when you are a creative in an industrial society. However, as Henry Ford one said, ‘if you always do, what you’ve always done, you’ll always get, what you’ve always got.’

Someone, somewhere has to be willing to step out and take a calculated risk.

I have always felt that more companies should appreciate, and treasure the entrepreneurial spirit within their team, rather than squash it. Thankfully this is beginning to change. I believe that instead of being threatened by people who are better than we are in a particular area, we must learn to collaborate and make way so that collectively we can achieve success. However, if you find yourself torn between the voices that tell us to stay sit down, stay in line, then I challenge you to be true to your art and have ago.

Happy bank holiday weekend folks! Thank you to all who subscribe to this blog. I consider it an honour.

This was my final piece for advanced higher art. I’ve framed this and placed it on my desk to remind myself that sometimes we just have to take a risk, and paint.


Being a light

Being a light to the world requires action, requires energy, requires substance.

I could go on, and probably will in posts to come; however, today I thought I’d like this cool little fella share a word that if you press play will surely speak to you. Now it’s great to be inspired and encouraged, but go do something with it.

‘Create something that will make the world awesome!’ Are you doing so already? Well what can you change, what can you do to make your team, company, life, relationship better? Remember what is great today, will be good tomorrow if you let things go and don’t continue to invest in staying fresh.


Do one thing, and take a step

Once you decide what it is that you want to achieve this year – no matter how small, or large it may be; do something that will take you in that direction.

It’s easy to overwhelm ourselves with what we want out of life if you are someone with big dreams, but start by choosing to take one thing and work to see that accomplished. I suggest we make that one thing big, and then work it back into steps. Look at what you need to do to get there. Every destination requires some level of steps to get there.

Think about it… to gain access to a flat on the fifth floor, you are required to climb a minium of five floors to get there, and depending on the structure of the building you either need to take five set of stairs, or sometimes 10, or sometimes more.

Ask yourself these few questions to help you achieve your goal:

1. Where am I?

2. Where do I want to be?

3. What steps are required to get there?

Choose do so one thing today, but be careful… do NOT mistake activity for productivity, and always check your progress.

River Island: Guilty before charged.

River Island, Dublin, Ireland
Picture supplied by vivido of Flickr.

Before publishing this post, I swayed in the direction I would take this post’

1. From the frustrated shopper who had just experienced another disappointing service from retailer, River Island.

2. Taking the objective point of few, sympathizing with retailers who, perhaps have been under the same economy pressure and doing the best they can to keep their stores afloat.

I have to say after two painful experiences with one retailer I’m more swayed to the first option because regardless to the pressure these stores may be facing, we ‘the UK consumer’ have been subject to the provision of bad customer service way longer than the 2008 recession.

There is no excuse for the way some of the nations biggest retailers have treated many of their customers, advertising half truths, using loopholes and all kinds of trickery just to gain cash from the average shopper, without so much as a ‘thank you for choosing to shop with us.’

According to a survey from Clear Returns, 67% of surveyed respondents have returned items online, and over 40% say they have returned several items. The post, which you can read here goes on to suggest that a large portion of consumers are committing fraud and retailers are doing themselves no favours, by giving consumers discounted items and placing tags on the inside of garments.

Whilst I appreciate there may be a fair amount of this behavior going on, and their best intentions are to address this area. I think it would be naive of us to think that all consumers are committing fraud are to blame for the growth in returns made.

The 67% of folks who have returned items, did they admit to committing fraud? Or where they simply within their rights of the Sale of Goods Act?

In less than one month, I have been in two River Island stores, once to try to replace a damaged top (that I absolutely loved and found by accident, when out shopping with a friend) which was sadly damaged under the armpit after the first light wash – after following the instructions on the garment itself.

My second trip was yesterday, with a friend who like many UK citizens was reluctant to return his worn hoodie that he bought less than two weeks ago and had already started to bobble on the arm after two wears. In this particular case, my friend had looked at the label inside to discover the material was no made of cotton, but a cheaper material which became apparent in a matter of days.

On both occasions, we were met by reluctant and rude members of store management after the counter staff flew like the wind to find them before they even looked at the receipt and goods for return. There is certainly a pattern happening in River Island – And perhaps the retailer are receiving a higher return rate that usual, however, this doesn’t omit them to treat the consumer guilty before charged.

In my own experience, the girl flew to get the manager before I could so much as explain my reason, other than to ask me a yes or no question. Have you worn this out? In my mind I hadn’t worn this on a night out, no. It was for work use. In a split second, the girl was off and there was no way of knowing what she had said to the manager because it was out of sight, but I knew it wasn’t right when he came flying towards me a few minutes later. The angry store manager proceeded to, no word of a lie, shout rather loudly in front of the whole store, calling me a liar and telling me that ‘this top had been worn on a night out’. Again, I bought the top for work, not clubbing; And I couldn’t even tell you the last time I went clubbing. I work night and day. Cheeky monkey!!

If I wasn’t stunned speechless by this manager’s abuse I would have explained as I have in this article. Instead, I found myself forced to defend myself blind to whatever information he was given as if being questioned by police. Screaming inside; ‘I’ll gladly take a lie detector test!’

Needless to say the top I originally hoped to replace, was returned as a ‘goodwill’ gesture after his ten minute rant of insult. Later to find that I too was well within my consumer rights, and River Islands returns policy. Might I also remind us I was looking to replace the top, not return it.

The same happened to my friend when he reluctantly returned his hoodie yesterday, disappointed by the poor quality of his product from a store he thought he could trust. This time the manager was a woman and after the same 10 minute break to whisper in front of the consumer came back with the lame excuse, ‘what’s wrong with it? It is just the kind of material.’ After a few huffs and puffs, I watched on as she gave exactly the same spiel as the Glasgow manager, ‘Ok, well I’ll return it as a goodwill gesture this time, but if it happens again I won’t.’

Are you now recording each customer now? I wondered. No need for a police force when the managers of River Island are quite happy to do their job for them.

What kind of excuse is, ‘it’s just the material’ for rejecting the consumer’s right to ‘reject’ an item that is not of satisfactory quality under the Sale of Goods Act?

Is this low quality the kind of quality we can expect from River Island now? Personally I’d rather pay ten times as much for my clothes and shop somewhere were the consumer is not treated like a criminal.

At the end of the day, retailers have a business to run and yes they shouldn’t be taken advantage of by the consumer. Certainly not. However; this coin flips two ways, and they also need to learn to appreciate the consumers who go into their store and choose to spend with them – especially in today’s economy.

I must also say that many stores, including Next, Boots and several other high-street retailers have continued to improve in this area of service, (based on my own experience) which Mary Portas helped highlight to the UK consumer over a year ago with her documentary ‘Secret Shopper.’

Never the less, it seems there are some stores are either getting worse, or have a long way to go.

Do you have a good, or bad customer service story that you would like to add? I’d love to hear your thoughts and finding on this subject below.