Pinterest has new rules

Pinterest has new rules for how brands should conduct themselves

The Federal Trade Commission recently chimed into the social media marketing conversation, and businesses now need to watch their step


Not being an expert on or a user of Pinterest, I thought I would post this blog for those of you who were:
This was the issue the FTC had with Cole Haan following a campaign they had run to win $1,000.
“We believe that participants’ pins featuring Cole Haan products were endorsements of the Cole Haan products, and the fact that the pins were incentivized by the opportunity to win a $1000 shopping spree would not reasonably be expected by consumers who saw the pins. Moreover, we were concerned that Cole Haan did not instruct contestants to label their pins and Pinterest boards to make it clear that they had pinned Cole Haan products as part of a contest”
July 2104
Read the article here

Social Media Twitter

Twitter and Twitter School

Twitter and Twitter School

What better way to start again after the summer than a reminder that social media is here to stay and isn’t going anywhere anytime soon!
Hearing Imogen Woodford, Bath’s social media training & consultancy expert again at Box Business Breakfast on Wednesday reminded me about some of the tips surrounding Twitter.  If you need some help with your social media, do contact Imogen; she has launched some training sessions with her Twitter School in both Bristol and Bath which you can follow in their entirety or dip into the topics that are relevant.  But some are getting booked up already, so do check out…

 Twitter Guidelines

  • Think before you tweet
  • You are not in a private room; people are listening
  • What goes on line stays on line. There’s a US website which picks up (somehow) all tweets removed by politicians even if up for only a few minutes.
  • It can be costly if you get it wrong
  • Don’t use Twitter (or any social media for that matter) when you’ve had a drink
  • Keep far away from your keyboard when you are cross about something

 Twitter Practicalities

  • You can now check out your analytics on Twitter – go to (don’t go for the paid ads above this site) – to see what effect your tweets are having
  • When using a hashtag to categorize Tweets by keywords, do check out the hashtag first to ensure no one else is using it for a completely different cause; really important to consider how they will be received.   See also Twitter’s help page
  • If you get something wrong, be honest and say so “Tomorrow’s Q&A is cancelled. Bad Idea. Back to the drawing board” has much more resonance than some lame excuse of some inappropriate comments/activity
  • You can find content related to your interests here
  • Use of .@, also known as dot@, period@.  The dot before the @ ‘breaks’ Twitter’s built-in threading (connecting your tweets together).   Without it, your tweets beginning with @name won’t show up to all your followers unless they happen to follow both you and the person you are replying to.  But it’s not suggested to use it all the time; ask yourself “do I want all my followers to see this” and ‘dot’ accordingly, or not!  But of course anyone going to your own profile will see all your tweets, irrespective of the .@ use
  • The only way to ensure a tweet is truly private is to DM (direct message) someone.

Content across your business Social Media

I still like the ‘rule of threes’ I’ve worked with over the years

  • The largest chunk about you and your business, what you do, who for  and how you help solve their problems.  It is key to keep this focussed so people do understand your business and what you do.
  • A smaller chunk with offers
  • And lastly another smaller chunk about random content that will sustain interest.  Otherwise you can find that people will just switch off, especially if you adopt a ‘shouting’ mode of ‘buy me, buy me’.

Twitter Style

My favourite mnemonic: S H I T which applies all through business, but really importantly in sales and through social media.  No, I’m not swearing at you; it stands for

The 5 Stages of a PR Disaster

Beautifully sketched by Tom Fishburne of

5 Steps of PR Disaster
5 Steps of PR Disaster


The Prince of Wales greets President Obama at the NATO Summit reception

The Prince of Wales greets President Obama at the NATO Summit reception

If you listen very hard, you’ll hear a string quartet playing in the background – the ‘cellist being my daughter, Beatrice….
You can just about spot them right at the back.
The Prince of Wales greets President Obama at the NATO Summit reception
See Bea’s website here


Experience the power of a Bookbook

Experience the power of a Bookbook

IKEA Channels Apple in a hilarious ad for its new catalogue ‘Bookbook’

This is just very funny.   It looks so simple but I wonder how many hours it took and how many professionals were involved  to put this together.
IKEA Channels Apple in a Hilarious Ad for Its New Catalog ‘Bookbook’

Armstrong Beech Marketing Business Growth Funding for your Business

Approved Growth Voucher adviser.

Approved Growth Voucher Adviser

Delighted to report that I’m now also an approved Growth Voucher Adviser for “Marketing, attracting and keeping customers”

Advice in this area aims to help businesses develop effective marketing strategies, and to ensure that they provide the right product/service at the right price, in the right place, at the right time. The advice could be used for market research, targeting existing and potential customers, using social media to extend your reach into new markets , developing pricing strategies and closing sales.  Here’s the PDF about what’s covered here:
Marketing, attracting and keeping customersr

The Criteria for applying for growth vouchers to help your business grow are :

  • ither registered with Companies House or HMRC if self-employed). ie NOT UK but England. 

Growth Voucher Website and Market Place Website

How the Growth Voucher Programme works

There are around six stages in the Growth Voucher programme, depending on whether or not participants have been allocated a voucherStage 1 is where small businesses apply to join the programme on the website.

Stage 1 is where small businesses apply to join the programme on the website.

Stage 2 will involve those small businesses carrying out an assessment of their advice needs, either by meeting with an adviser face-to-face or by completing an online questionnaire.
Stage 3: After completing the assessment, applicants will be given a suggestion about which area of strategic advice would be the most appropriate. Applicants will be told, at this stage, whether or not they’ve been allocated a voucher.
Stage 4: Applicants will then be advised to find a Growth Voucher adviser on the Enterprise Nation Marketplace.
Stage 5: At this stage, applicants might get in touch with you via the Marketplace. It’s essential that the participant agrees on a price for the advice and checks if it’s suitable to be subsidised using a Growth Voucher. Vouchers will cover up to half of the cost of paying for strategic advice up to a maximum of £2,000 (non-inclusive of VAT).
Stage 6: After receiving and paying for the advice, small businesses then submit a claim for the subsidy. They will have to provide evidence that the invoice has been paid and give details of the advice they received. Claims will be processed on receipt and should be paid within 30 days.

What’s in and out of scope for the vouchers

Growth Vouchers can only be used to obtain strategic advice that will help the business to grow. It will not subsidise activities such as building a new website or paying for membership of a professional body. Businesses can check with their Delivery Partner before purchasing advice to ensure it qualifies for a subsidy. Read through the description of your business advice area on the Marketplace website to get a better understanding of what will be subsidised.

Any questions?

The quickest way to get support for the Enterprise Nation Marketplace is to use the ‘Support’ tab at the top of the website – or email For more information on the Growth Voucher programme itself, visit or call 0300 4562210.

Already had GrowthAccelerator Coaching?

I’m told that businesses that have had previous strategic support (Growth Accelerator) can still apply for Growth Vouchers, however they must declare this at the application stage