#Social – Choosing The Right Platforms

For B2B organisations with a story to tell, social media can provide a fast and cost-effective way of spreading your gospel. That’s why it’s tempting to shout the same messages via every avenue you have, and that often means across all the platforms at your disposal.

Choosing the Right Platform

But you should always consider the business objectives when putting any message out into the public domain. Ask yourself: what are you trying to achieve and who is our target audience? Only then can you select the right platforms and craft your messages appropriately.

By understanding how the different social media platforms work, and utilising them in the way in which they were designed, you can ensure that your content is engaging the right people, in the right context, and will truly strike a chord.

So, let’s look at the different platforms a little more closely…


  • Twitter is essentially an open conversation with your followers – and the chance to converse with key influencers in your sector.
  • It is also a great way of showing support for clients, partners and suppliers with the retweet and like functionalities.
    While it is not entirely a visual tool the use of imagery has been shown to improve engagement with users.
  • We find that a short paragraph of copy introducing your content, plus a link to the content, a few relevant hashtags and an eye-catching image is the winning formula for a successful tweet.
  • Twitter is probably the most universal of all the platforms as it can be used for business-focused content as well as more informal updates and news.

In summary: Twitter is a great way of quickly and concisely sharing information, driving traffic to your site and engaging with prospects, clients and suppliers. As with most social media, however, you only really get out what you put in. To truly maximise its potential you should take Twitter’s advice and ‘join the conversation’.


  • Facebook has many similarities to Twitter in that it is quite open in terms of what you can post and the style and tone of your messaging – it is not overly formal and can allow you to be a bit more conversational.
  • Videos and photo galleries are also possible on Facebook which can really liven up your posts and help you stand out in someone’s feed.
  • Originally deemed more of a B2C tool it is potentially more suited to raising profile to a wider audience than immediate business response.
  • However, let’s not forget, many of your B2B targets are truly passionate about their sector and undoubtedly take their work home with them. Indeed many businesses and influencers are capitalising on the rapid reach of Facebook.

In summary: Owing to its market dominance promoting your business on Facebook can certainly be valuable. It’s crucial to consider your business objectives for each communication and the context your audience will be viewing in, before selecting the content and the tone of your material.


  • LinkedIn is an indispensable B2B tool – tailor made for expanding and engaging your network. It is perfect for sharing news and insight and for interacting with prospects, clients and colleagues.
  • Language and subject matter should always be professional and reflect your business or personal brand in tone.
  • It’s also a guaranteed opportunity for your thought leadership to be published – so don’t be afraid to put your insights and expertise out there to be scrutinised!
  • LinkedIn is particularly useful for advertising job roles and is a tool of choice for recruiters.
  • Encourage employees and partners to share and like your content to increase reach.
  • LinkedIn is also an invaluable resource for researching and collating prospect data for new business prospecting opportunities.

In summary: LinkedIn is a fantastic mechanism for sharing company updates and generated content with followers and connections and is great for growing your business network through shares and likes.


  • Instagram is a very visual tool – focused heavily on imagery so is ideal for showcasing a good product shot or work examples.
  • It is typically used by a younger audience so tailor your content to suit this demographic.
  • Instagram is traditionally a bit more informal than other platforms such as LinkedIn so you can afford to be a bit more casual in your tone.
  • Emojis are also accepted terminology in Instagram and are a great way to show a bit more personality and fun!
  • Hashtags – while they may not be suitable on certain platforms are fundamental in Instagram. But remember hashtags are designed to help users find your post so keep them fairly simple and don’t get carried away on quantity.
  • Multiple image galleries and videos are also possible in Instagram so could be a great way of conveying a full story.

In summary: Instagram is a fun, informal, image-based platform which is perfect showcasing your offering and injecting a little company personality into your communications.


Of course, there are other social media platforms out there but we have just focused on the main four in this blog. Also crucial to point out we’ve only focused on organic social media marketing here… paid or promotional activity to push your messages beyond your network is a blog or several in itself!

Social media is increasingly important as a marketing tool and so it has never been more important to understand the differences between the platforms and how best to use them to achieve increased reach and tangible results.


Hopefully you found the above useful as a starter for ten but if you need any further advice on how to make your social media platforms work harder for you contact Mark on 07595 301745 or mark@brookesandsowerby.co.uk

Master Your Marketing Mix

When you’ve enjoyed real success with one marketing method – or a particular approach is ‘in fashion’ – it’s easy to default to that option as your communication method of choice. But could an alternative route deliver better results?

Master Marketing Mix

We all have our favourites – best friends, beloved brands and long-followed sports teams.

And the thing about favourites is that our loyalty can often blind us to potential deficiencies. We can overlook faults in our beloved because we aren’t thinking rationally.

The same applies to marketing channels.

If you’ve enjoyed success using promoted campaigns on Twitter, for example, then it’s easy to keep doing the same thing.

“I’ve had results once, I’m familiar with how this works, surely I just keep doing the same?”

But if you are pushing a slightly different product or service to last time – or you are looking for a different outcome – then it pays to review your options.

Different marketing skills and media channels exist for a reason and your best chance of achieving your goal is to plan your strategy carefully – with the right communication mix.

No matter how small the brief or challenge, take a step back and ask yourself some important questions:

  • What’s my objective?
  • Who do I need to influence to achieve that objective?
  • What do I need to tell these influencers?
  • What’s the best way to share this message with influencers?
  • How soon do I need results?
  • How much budget do I have?

With a bit of clear thinking you’ll give yourself a much better chance of beating those sales targets, generating interest in an event or making your next product launch as successful as possible.

If you’re confused about the marketing options you have – or which communications mix is right for you – then we can help. Contact Mark Sowerby on mark@brookesandsowerby.co.uk or 07595 301745

Social Media Abbreviations You Should Know

With character limits and time both in short supply it’s only natural that abbreviations have become widely used across social media BUT do you know your OMG* from your TBT**?

social media abbreviations

No? Don’t worry.

The following explanations for 5 popular social media abbreviations will ensure there’ll be no more FOMO*** for you…

ICYMI – in case you missed it
This is often used to prefix a retweet or repeated blog post or to point your followers in the direction of some useful news or information they may not have seen.

TL;DR – too long; didn’t read
This acts as an intro to a useful summary of a longer article or written piece that time-poor users may not be likely to read in its entirety.

NSFW – not safe for work
As expected this refers to something you probably wouldn’t want your boss to see – or hear you play without your headphones plugged in!

YOLO – you only live once
A light-hearted phrase which is often used to justify a risky choice or decision.

IMO/IMHO – in my opinion/in my humble opinion
This can be useful for ensuring that your followers know that what you’re about to say is an opinion, and not a fact.

There are of course many, many more abbreviations in use all over social media – and they are an ever-evolving entity – but the above information will help keep you in the loop for now.

JIC**** you need any help with your social media management, we’re always available to talk. Contact Mark Sowerby on 07595 301745 or email mark@brookesandsowerby.co.uk


*Oh My God
**Throwback Thursday
***Fear of Missing Out
****Just In Case

Injecting Creativity into B2B Marketing

An ability to deliver creative PR and marketing solutions is fundamental to our ongoing success as a business. But where does that creative spark come from? Our lead designer Mike shares his thoughts…

Injecting Creativity

Many of you will be familiar with that sinking feeling when you’re staring at a blank page and willing the ideas to flow out – be it writing a presentation, pulling together a proposal or even drafting an introductory email to a prospect.

Design work is no different.

Once we have our brief, it’s time to get the thinking cap on and engage the brain. This can be trickier than hoped once the clock starts ticking. After all, the account team has given their deadline and the client has their milestones to meet too.

Come on Mike, where’s the solution?

Well, sadly, there isn’t one magic answer to this question but there are some things we try to get the creative juices flowing…

1. Being open to ideas

Sometimes a fantastic idea may hit us while we’re sitting in front of our Macs but if it doesn’t then that’s fine too. By being aware of our surroundings – be it a shop window on the walk into work, a poster on our bus journey, or a song on the radio – we leave ourselves open to a potential spark which could lead to a fantastic creative concept.

2. Challenging expectations

As Orson Welles said… “Don’t give them what you think they want. Give them what they never thought was possible”…and more importantly, something that works! Don’t be afraid to challenge briefs when they come in – interrogation is a great way to add value to the thinking process and final result.

3. Writing things down

Ideas can strike at any time so it helps to carry a notebook around with you. That way, whether it’s a 3am thought or inspiration that hits when you’re out and about, you can quickly jot it down or sketch it out and revisit it later when you have more time.

4. Being brave

Not all ideas are good ones and the brilliant idea you had at 4am in the morning may not be quite so brilliant in the cold light of day! But be brave. Don’t be afraid to throw your ideas into the ring when having brainstorms or even fire off a quick email to your team with a few suggestions. The worst they can do is say no – and there will be a good idea in there somewhere.

5. Accepting constructive criticism

It’s tempting when you’ve had a good idea to be a bit protective – after all, it’s your vision and you may see it unfolding a certain way. But be prepared to accept constructive criticism and advice. Sometimes an absolute gem of an idea can be polished further with a little outside input.

6. Celebrating together

Seeing an idea develop from an initial brainwave to a real life, tangible entity can be incredibly exciting and satisfying. So don’t forget to celebrate your shared success with your colleagues. Collective enjoyment and praise for a job well done can work wonders for morale and really bring you together as a team. The perfect environment for ongoing creative success.

And finally…

Even when you think you’ve nailed one of your best ideas, it might not turn out to be as unique or original as you want it to be. If you’ve had an idea so good that you wonder how it hasn’t already be done – chances are it has.

So, before you get too excited be sure to do your research and, if there’s any hint of similarity, be prepared to let the idea go.

Great marketing doesn’t come from imitation.

It’s about standing out from the crowd through interrogation, collaboration and inspiration.


Turning great ideas into effective marketing campaigns that really hit the mark is what we do best. To see our creative process in action call us on 01225 683682 or contact mark@brookesandsowerby.co.uk

Email Marketing: Striking the Right Balance

Promotional emails and email newsletters are both extremely useful tools for conveying your messages to your customers – but what is the difference, and how do you strike the right balance between the two when planning your email marketing campaigns?

Email notification

Promotional emails are really useful tools for conveying a single, clear and direct message to your customer base.

With a punchy headline, eye-catching visual, short intro and compelling call-to-action you can focus energy and attention around one or more of your products and services. It’s your chance to shine a spotlight on a key part of your business and really encourage customers to purchase or contact you for more information.

If sales need a boost or you need to ramp up interest ahead of a new product launch, then a promotional email is just what you need.

HOWEVER, they don’t provide the answer in every situation – and overuse can ultimately drive your customers and prospects away.

Thought leadership

Email newsletters give you the opportunity to offer a more balanced overview of the benefits of using your products and services and position you as experts in your sector by sharing an array of useful information – from company developments, to opinion pieces, insights, product updates and industry stories.

While promotional emails are unashamedly single-minded and to the point – often incorporating one message and a call to action to clearly instruct your customer on how you wish them to respond – email newsletters are designed to be balanced, informative and content-driven.

Build a relationship

We write, design and issue email newsletters for a number of our clients and find them an extremely effective way of communicating a company’s expertise, experience and knowledge in a relaxed, informative and interesting way.

Users tend to be very receptive to the approach as they feel they are gaining expertise from professionals as well as insight into the company personality and even behind-the-scenes information.

For this reason, email newsletters are invaluable for building brand loyalty – as readers feel they are receiving useful, relevant content which they come to trust, value and share with their colleagues.

With a regular schedule of email newsletters you can position yourself as a company that your customers rely on for interesting and useful content – you become more than just a product and/or service provider.

Put simply, think of your email newsletters as more of a conversation with your users than a direct sales pitch. Once they have bought into your company’s message they will be more responsive to promotions or offers in the future.

Your next email campaign. Think wisely.

In conclusion, our advice is always to think carefully about the content of your email communications.

Whichever route you choose, make sure you invest in well-written, professionally designed communications that are clear and inspire action.

And, while it can be very tempting to keep issuing emails about how great your products are or how you’re running yet another jaw-dropping offer, be sure to strike the right balance to ensure you are seen as a trusted partner, an industry leader and source of knowledge.

Once you’ve built up the loyalty, you’ll be amazed at how much easier it is to convert a sale.

We’re experts at helping clients to strike the right balance. For help planning your next email campaign call us on 01225 683682 or contact mark@brookesandsowerby.co.uk

Creating the Perfect Case Study

Well-written case studies are a great way to bring your products and services to life – demonstrating that you can deliver exactly what you say you will.

Tangible examples of your previous successes provide the best endorsement of your work and can be invaluable to your business in helping to attract new customers – making your marketing budget work as hard as possible.

Here are 5 tips that will help ensure you produce perfect case studies every time:

1. Do your research

Identify a customer who may be willing to help you with your case study and ask them directly if they’d be happy to talk. Make sure you’ve done your homework – brush up on the exact details of the project you worked on together, their role, what they do now and your key learnings. This will help steer the direction you wish to take with your case study.

2. Get your questions ready

Put together a list of questions in advance – making sure that they are open questions so that the person you are interviewing will be able answer freely and in detail. But don’t just robotically tick the questions off one by one – treat this as a conversation and be ready to think on your feet with new questions should any new information come to light. That way you will have plenty of material to pick from when you write your case study later.

3. Put people at ease

By agreeing to participate and allow you to use them for a case study, your customer is doing you a huge favour so make it as easy and pain-free for them as possible. Arrange a convenient time for them to talk– whether it is by email, over the phone or in person. Be friendly, professional and polite and make sure you explain to them exactly how the conversation is going to work and let them know they can take their time. If the interview takes place over the phone explain that if you go quiet, you are listening, you’re just taking notes and ask them to bear with you!

4. Agree clear next steps

Be upfront about timeframes, where the case study will be featuring, when your customer can expect to see it and make sure that they see a copy of the case study before it is printed or published anywhere so that they can make sure they are happy with it. Always quote them as closely as possible and be prepared to make any changes that they may request.

5. Use photos

Good quality photography is vital to back up your case study – whether this is of the person you have interviewed or visuals of the work you did. A perfectly well-written case study can be spoilt by lack of, or poor quality, imagery so make sure you have decent photography to bring your story to life.
Case studies are a great way of telling the world all about your products or services by illustrating how they have helped and benefitted other customers. If done right they can be the difference between a potential customer skimming past your site and generating real, profitable interest.

By following the above advice, you can produce case studies that will paint your company in the best possible light and encourage more enquiries to come rolling in.

Why We Love C.R.A.P Design

How can you be sure your customer communications are making the best impact possible? Here’s our designer Mike with his thoughts on what you can do from a design perspective…


Creativity for all
Back when I was at art school, after each project was complete we would sit down and conduct a design critique. This would consist of a student presenting their work to the group – explaining the decision-making process that resulted in their final design.

The other students in the group would then give their feedback and, finally, our teachers would share their thoughts too.

This is an essential process for any student because it not only teaches you the skills to present your work to prospecting clients, it also teaches you how to take criticism – a vital skill for anybody working in a creative industry.

During one of my early design critiques my teacher gave me some confusing feedback.

After presenting my work and getting relatively positive comments from the class he looked at me with a smirk on his face and said…

“It’s a load of CRAP. I love it.”

At first I thought he was being sarcastic but it turned out that he really did like the work – he just had a slightly different definition of crap to me.

For him crap was an acronym for something else:


Four fundamental principles of any good design.



As with all aspects of life, a way of standing out from the crowd is to have a point of difference.

Contrast is used to focus attention. We use contrast to create a hierarchy of information and to highlight key points that we want the audience to take away.

Contrast can be applied to use of colour, scale, fonts, images and more.

Think of a newspaper cover. It will contain lots of information and images relating to different content but you always know what the main story is due to the contrasting size, weight and proportion of the page it occupies.



In this instance, repetition does not refer to content. A web page containing the same paragraph of text 3 times is not an example of good design.

However, a repetition of fonts, colour, shape, texture, spatial relationships, line thicknesses and sizes can help unify a design.

Another word to describe this would be “consistency” – but this doesn’t create an amusing acronym…



Alignment allows us to organise information while making it easier for the audience to absorb.

Try reading a large quantity of centered text. Your eyes will find it much more difficult to find the next line when compared to reading left aligned text. Ever seen a novel with centred text?

Designers use a system of grids, margins, columns and modules to organise content and give designs a consistent orderly look.

Good alignment often goes unnoticed but bad alignment will stick out like a sore thumb.

Think of the one car in the car park which is outside the lines. Not only does it stand out but you also think negatively of the driver.



A single design could contain any number of elements with different relationships to each other. Proximity helps to signify these relationships.

We know, for example, that the caption closest to an image is related to that specific image.

We know which product we are buying when we click the “add to basket” button because of its proximity to the text and images relating to that product.

When several items are in close proximity to each other, they became one coherent visual. When they are too far apart they become disjointed.


So, how can you use these design principles?

These four principles can help you create focused marketing communications that drive attention to most important messages and will help ensure that your content resonates with the people that matter the most.

Take a look at your company’s website, review your sales materials and even look at your company’s branding – ask yourself, does it have Contrast, Repetition, Alignment and Proximity?

Is it C.R.A.P. or would you value some advice on improving visual impact and clarity of messaging?


All Change In The Automotive Industry?

Working with an automotive prospecting specialist, we’ve seen how important it is to get hot prospects into the showroom during sales events but will this new venture by Hyundai change the way we think about buying cars?

Click to buy

You may have seen news of Hyundai UK launching Click to Buy – a new website that claims to be the first platform that allows consumers to purchase a car entirely online.

After a quick test drive of the site, it’s very clean, clear and easy to navigate.

You can configure your chosen car, create personalised quotes, apply for finance (if needed) and choose a dealer for pick-up or arrange delivery.

Effectively, if it’s a cash purchase with no trade-in you won’t need to go near the showroom at all and, by making the process as simple as possible – removing any price negotiation which some people can find uncomfortable – we suppose the idea is to make automotive purchases just like buying something from Amazon.

Incidentally, Fiat Chrysler have already linked up with Amazon to sell the 500, the Panda and the 500L direct on Amazon.it (read more here) so there’s a clear trend towards direct online sales.

The appeal for some is clear – sit at your desk or browse your mobile device, order your car and watch it arrive at your home in a matter of days.

We still like the option to haggle a bit on price in the showroom setting but if you’re willing to trade that in for convenience then the future (or present) of car buying could be music to your ears.

Award-Winning Award Entries

Winning industry awards can catapult your business into the spotlight within your sector and beyond – providing a massive independent endorsement of your quality and bringing exposure that cannot be bought. So how do you nail those all-important award entries?

Happy Workforce

Making an awards shortlist – or better still taking the prize – provides a benchmark against competitors, a raised profile, increased enquiries, client trust, prospect awareness and internal pride.

But like much in business, if it was easy, everyone would be winning them. So how do you improve your chances of success when submitting award entries?

Give them the attention they deserve
The benefits of winning are significant, so why are award entries so often an afterthought? Put the planning, the resource, the expertise and the passion in to the entries that reflect the value to your business should you win.

Don’t fall at the first fence
Award wins are much coveted. So entry numbers are high. The judging panel will look to quickly separate the wheat from the chaff and form a shortlist – so entry criteria are non-negotiable.

Stick rigidly to the parameters put in place regarding format, deadlines, word count or method of submission. Don’t give an easy justification to discard your entry.

Make every word count
Hit them hard and hit them early. Tell them exactly why your award entries should be victorious. Then demonstrate it with clarity. Treat each section of an entry as a clearly defined and separate brief. Write what the judges need to know to assess each section, not what you’re keen to promote.

Tell a compelling tale
It’s important to focus on facts not fiction but judges, like any readers, want to be engaged. We’ve already touched on the importance of a talented writer. Put your best available on the job. However, they don’t just need to write well, they need to write with purpose – convincingly and consistently highlighting how your product or service meets or exceed the category’s key criteria.

Build your case
While your products and achievements mean the world to you, the chances are that the judges know little about them. All they have to go on is the content you provide. If they are to understand how brilliant your entry is, they must first understand the challenges that you or your customers faced. It’s therefore crucial to articulate the need for your solution before explaining how well you’ve delivered it.

Use the right tools for the job
Just as you would with any other communications challenge, you should establish what you want to convey with your award entry – then select the most effective way to convey it. Just because you can upload a video or interactive device as part of your entry, doesn’t mean you necessarily should. Only choose materials that will enhance a first time reader’s understanding of your achievements.

Provide tangible evidence
If a category ever comes down to the final two, the winner is guaranteed to be the one that can most clearly prove its effectiveness. Always back up your submission with clear supporting evidence. Statistics are the most persuasive, preferably showing commercial improvement. However, testimony from users, customers or clients that have experienced the impact you make can all add weight to your cause.

Keep your eyes on the prize
Successful award entries require focus and ruthlessness. The time to please everyone is when you are called up to the stage to receive the trophy… not when compiling your entry. The key to success is effectively meeting the entry criteria, not massaging the ego of the boss, client or product designer. Filter out the jargon and focus on the detail that answers the brief.

Look the part
While it’s crucial not to overcomplicate, first impressions count. So make sure all elements of the submission are clearly presented, uniform and on brand. If you need to supply crucial supporting evidence, make sure it is clearly signposted, easy to access and visually appealing.

Before you hit the button
Check and double check: your content, the entry criteria, your supporting documents and that you’ve fully answered the brief. Then all that remains is to choose your outfit for the ceremony.

Ladies and Gentleman, we have our winner!

We’ve evolved this approach over many years of compiling B2B award entries on behalf of our clients. Most recently it’s proved successful for Gi Group UK, one of the UK’s leading recruitment specialists. Their work with schools – The Workforce of Tomorrow – scooped them the Best CSR Practitioner prize at last week’s Institute of Recruitment Professionals annual awards.

Get in touch if you’d like us to help ensure you’re the next up on stage.