Apprentices get connected with using social media for business
Digital apprentices gained business social media insights thanks to Wiltshire expert Yola O’Hara.
The British Computer Society invited Yola, founder of Royal Wootton Bassett-based social media company Visually Explained, to present and run workshops at an event in London. The BCS staged the event to tie in with National Apprenticeship Week.
Called ‘Look Beyond – Digital Apprenticeship Challenge’, BCS targeted the one-day conference at digital apprentices and organisations offering apprenticeships. The conference aimed itself at extending their understanding of the value of social media in the business world.
The focus of the workshops in which digital apprentices get business social media insights
Yola focused her talk and workshops on five main areas:
How to get engagement for a business idea
How to improve brand recognition
An insight into LinkedIn as a business platform
Using influencers and …
… standing out from the crowd on social media.
“I was delighted that the BCS asked me to speak at the event,” said Yola. “People are familiar with using social media in their personal life. Yet, as soon as they apply it to business they sound formal and corporate.
They need to learn to be true to themselves. If they remain authentic, then their uniqueness will come through. And it is uniqueness that will help them to get noticed in what’s a very crowded arena.
“I wanted to help the apprentices understand that social media isn’t only about posting photos of people wearing silly hats! There is a process. And, if they use a process, and engage with their audience, it’s an effective business tool.”
Co-presenters Joshua Uwadiae, of WeGym, and Danielle Ariyo-Francis, of IBM, joined Yola at the event, attended by some 50 apprentices and organisations.
Yola added: “I was pleasing to support this National Apprenticeship Week event. It’s my belief that it’s vital we attract young people to work in social media. That’s why I have taken on New College students for work experience and am considering creating an apprentice position within Visually Explained.”
Visually Explained specialises in delivering outsourced social media. The company also creates social media libraries for clients and audits their social media platforms. VE runs social media training programmes and workshops too.
New IT business: Supportwise. Entrepreneur Chris Goodchild has set up his own IT business after becoming disillusioned working for companies using outsourced call centres with little personal service.
The 30-year-old IT specialist moved to Swindon after working overseas for several years for brands such as Marks & Spencer.
Chris said: ‘Swindon is a great place to commit to setting up my own business. I recognise the potential of the town as the economic hub of Wiltshire and one of the most economically active places in the South West. For me, Swindon was the perfect choice and avoided having to live in London.
A varied working life
Chris has enjoyed a varied career working in customer focused jobs. They include managing a Co-op store in Old Windsor. At 24, he moved to France where he worked with Marks & Spencer in various roles before working in the head office supporting their IT department. Following redundancy four years later, he moved to Canada working with a large IT company. Again as a dedicated support representative.
He returned to the UK last year while still working for the Canadian company and then decided it was time to go it alone.
Said Chris: ‘It’s my firm belief that the human touch has largely gone from IT, especially with customers getting sent to call centres, often outside the UK. I believe in straightforward IT support with a human touch and a local base. I aim to build a small local team of dedicated IT professionals. This team will offer on hand, local support with no call centres based outside of the UK.
My team and I are hoping to work with ambitious companies. They’ll be in professional services, needing technical support. I provide advice and expertise around their existing software, new software, and can maintain their systems and processes. That way they’ll stay compliant and protected from cyber-crime.’
New IT business: Supportwise
Chris grew up in Slough and has long held an interest in IT. He started his career by gaining a BTEC National Diploma in IT. For more information about SupportWise visit https://supportwise.co.uk
The value of placing a content marketing, straightforward business feature or a Made in Wiltshire feature on this blog lies in the back links. The articles sit on here and Google does its thing of recognising the links to your own websites and social media platforms – thus helping your own SEO.
The rates for all of these services are modest to make them accessible. For the Made in Wiltshire posts there are two levels: for hobbyists or for professionals. I also do a bit of initial social media activity to get the pieces some traction. And then ad hoc after that.
“I’m so pleased David said he would come along and meet people in Royal Wootton Bassett and the surrounding area. He will be offering to value their portable antiques and collectibles. Whether they want to sell or find out more information. I’ll be there to support in the background if needed – as will other team members.”
“I’m thrilled to visit both Royal Wootton Bassett and Swindon,” David said. “It’s important in our sector to support anyone starting up a new business at a time when the High Street generally is struggling and I’m pleased to do my bit to support Jon while I’m in the area.”
Businessman Jon opened his antiques centre last year. It’s in an historic Wiltshire building which used to be a hotel and then a bank, at 143 High Street. The shop has been a labour of love for Jon. One that opens the building for business after several years of locked doors.
“Setting up this business has without doubt been the most stressful venture I’ve ever undertaken,” Jon said. “Yet, only three months in, it’s proving to be a delight. The town mayor Cllr Steve Watts has joined to help run the centre. And we are now so pleased to see regulars coming in weekly to see what new delights are in the centre.”
Anyone interested in having a valuation can meet David at Old Bank Antiques between 2pm and 4pm on Tuesday February 11.
Old Bank Antiques is a small antiques centre which will focus on selling portable antiques including jewellery, silver flatware, coins, toys and collectibles. The premises boasts 21 high quality display cabinets for small items and floor space for furniture and some larger pieces.
Social media firm celebrates half decade with launch of new clinics
To mark its fifth anniversary, Visually Explained is launching a series of FREE social clinics. The aim? To help businesses with their social media. What better thing to do when a social media firm is five?
The company is set to run a free social media clinic at its Royal Wootton Bassett headquarters, in Bowman House, on the first Tuesday of every month.
Starting from February 4, businesses can book a half-hour slot. In these sessions they can access expert help with social media. Everything from how to create a platform and when to post, to advice on content and frequency.
Yola O’Hara founded her company five years ago. She now works with clients across Swindon, Wiltshire, and along the M4 corridor.
In the first instance she set VE up to offer data visualisation through infographics. But Visually Explained soon diversified into social media in response to demand.
Now Yola and her team specialise in:
Outsourced social media
creating social media libraries for clients
auditing social media platforms and
running social media training programmes and workshops.
‘I’m passionate about social media and how effective it can be for businesses. Yet, businesses have to do social media well and consistently, to bring results. I want businesses to appreciate its importance and to understand what it can do for their organisations,’ said Yola.
‘I am also very proud to have achieved my first five years in business. Five years, in the world of social media, is a long time. Social media is in a state of constant flux. We pride ourselves on keeping bang up-to-date with what is happening in this dynamic arena.’
Visually Explained already offers free clinics in Bristol, on the last Tuesday of the month at The Orange Tree Hub. In addition, VE is launching a third series in Cheltenham in March, aimed at cyber security businesses.
For more information about the clinics run by Visually Explained, as well as its audit, outsourcing, training and consultancy services, visit https://visuallyexplained.co.uk/.
Award-winning App Developer Uses Tech to Support Swindon Night Shelter
Swindon Night Shelter gets App Support from tech expert Paul Harding. Paul has offered his support to Swindon’s leading homeless charity – Swindon Night Shelter – by developing an online, app-based information platform and donation service.
Paul’s new tech platform, Zapp Active, is in development as an interactive community portal. And Swindon Night Shelter is one of the first charities Paul has featured on the platform.
The aim is that, over time, those who sign up to the platform can share their news, share links to their own businesses, projects or charities and also take event bookings through the site. And Zapp Active takes a small fee from each booking. The site showcases all aspects of Swindon Night Shelter including The Hub Shop and Cafe.
Becky Davison, one of the founders of Swindon Night Shelter, said:
‘We appreciate any one that can help spread the word about our services, activities and fundraising work. We need to raise funds to function and to support our guests as we receive no grants for our day to day activities. Those activities, offered on a daily basis, are a real way to make the difference to someone who is leading a chaotic life through homelessness or being in housing where they are vulnerable.’
This could be anyone
Paul, who lives with his family in Lechlade, said: “Any of us could find ourselves homeless, sofa surfing or out on the streets. One event could turn our lives upside down and then we’re are out in the cold.
Recognising that makes it easy to support a charity like Swindon Night Shelter. When you are at your most vulnerable, these people, many of them volunteers, are the people you need.’
Paul Harding, has already won a major award for Kids’ Covered – his innovative app for childminders and parents. This app runs on the Zapp Active platform.
He’s now continuing to develop Zapp Active as a platform for communities to promote local events, activities, points of interest, charities, the High Street and independent traders. During 2020 it will be free for any charity or organisation to sign up and for businesses too. Low cost charges will apply for add-ons such as events (50p plus 1.4 per cent for event tickets).
Currently, Paul is building the platform to cover an area between Cirencester and Swindon taking in towns of Fairford, Malmesbury, Lechlade, Royal Wootton Bassett, Highworth and Cricklade. Over time, the platform will extend to other areas in the South West and beyond.
Paul said: ‘The potential for this is huge. It drives traffic and backlinks online, it will allow for groups to take bookings through the site and search it to find out what’s going on in their area.
We can live stream events and get out instant news and views. There’s also an ability to link straight back to, for example, an organisation’s own website in real time.’
PS: It’s fab to share this post about Paul as he and I are working together on getting some of Swindon in 50 Buildings on Zapp Active. It won’t be a substitute for the book – but it will be a trail around some of the buildings in it.