On Thursday morning Cornwall 365 were joined by Marketing Freelancer, Bethia Thomas and a collection of local business owners, for a workshop in the scenic countryside of South-East Cornwall.
The venue for our social media session was Trenderway Farm, a tranquil treasure tucked away in the rolling hills of Polperro. From its cobbled courtyard, picturesque views and dogs in abundance, my initial impression of Trenderway was of a calming retreat, an ideal setting for a gentle introduction into the complex world of social media.
Communications and Marketing Freelancer, Bethia Thomas led the session. Bethia completed an undergraduate degree at Falmouth University before jet-setting off to build her career portfolio. Having worked in Edinburgh, Sydney and London, she decided to return to her roots in Cornwall, where she now lives, to complete a Masters Degree in Communication Design. It seems that no matter where or how far people travel, there is something special about Cornwall that makes people gravitate back.
The session began with an introduction into what exactly is social media, and how can it be used to expand audiences and develop businesses? “The more active you are on social media, the more likely people are to find you” Bethia explained to the participants, who were shocked to learn that people post 5 times a day on Twitter!
From start-ups and entrepreneurs to long-time business owners, participants were able to engage in the session with their own individual aims and needs. One recurring topic related to the conflict between having a personal and business presence online. ‘Do I use my personal profile for my business, or do I have 2 different accounts?’ Whether you choose to fully separate your business from your personal life is completely subjective to you and your business. But ask yourself would you want your clients and the public to see personal photos? Would it enhance your online presence to reiterate your personality, interests and sense of fun – showing people that you are human? Or would you feel more confident engaging with people as a brand, rather than as an individual? These are the questions we asked ourselves as we considered baring our soul to the unknown universe that is the world wide web!
By lunchtime we had covered an array of topics and terms including tweeting, boosting, hashtags and feeds – getting to grips with a new language of technical jargon. In celebration of National Vegetarian Week, Trenderway provided us with a delicious vegan curry, salad and fruit spread which we ate in a sunlit marquee, conversing about the session. Having refuelled, everyone wanted to go and put their newfound learning into practice. A blush of flowers, amidst the summer greenery inspired many Instagram snaps and created the perfect backdrop for new profile pictures.
Part 2 of the session encouraged creative brain storming whereby participants worked in pairs to draft business slogans and user profiles. Rather than creating a persona for their business, this activity involved designing different user personas for their potential audience and clients – giving them a face, name, personality and demographic. By keeping the audience in mind, it helps to identify how to target them and understand what they would respond to.
Having spent a couple of hours putting theory into practice, the workshop ended on an upbeat buzz, whereby everyone left the session equipped with new skills and tools to apply to their business, as well as new networks. It was useful to bounce ideas off others and discover the varied work that people do in Cornwall. From authors to glass makers and budding business owners, it was a lovely mix of people.
Thank you to Bethia for delivering some fantastic content and advice for the workshop, and to the staff at Trenderway Farm for providing a beautiful space and tasty food – definitely a place to recommend!
The slides from this session are available in Cornwall 365’s Knowledge Bank. You can access them here.
Put your new skills into action and keep your eyes peeled on social media for more Cornwall 365 skill sessions soon!
We look forward to following our new friends and their social media journeys and you can too! Show your online support by liking their social media below:
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