Monday, 3 February 2014

A Different Start to the Week

Sometimes things just happen. Opportunities can come out of the blue and take us pleasantly by surprise. That's exactly what happened a week ago when I received a phone call from BBC Radio Manchester as a result of organising the Warrington Business Expo and being a business owner in Warrington.

Warrington had been positively recognised in a national report by Centre For Cities, looking at the performance of cities and their crucial role in the performance of the UK economy. The Cities Outlook report put Warrington, a town, in a great light, out-performing Manchester in some areas, and I was asked to talk to Allan Beswick on the subject from a Warrington business owners perspective.

Having never been to the BBC in Manchester before (shame on me!) and with the prospect of being on the radio, live to many commuters and local people, I felt the nerves kicking in, but was full of pure excitement and feeling lucky that out of all the business owners in Warrington I had been asked to take part - no pressure then! Not only did I have to do myself and my business proud, but I needed to think about making sure that I was representing Warrington well!!

So the Sat Nav didn't work, the rain was pouring, the traffic was horrific, I ended up in the wrong building, but I finally reached my destination on time and not too wet! I was immediately ushered through the impressive building with famous faces on the walls, modern furniture and people beavering away making sure that the broadcasts and latest news was reaching the audience (how lucky are we to have this on our doorstep!). I could see Allan live on air in the studio through a glass pane. I dropped my bags and was thrown straight in at the deep end, and before I knew it I was on air!

Warrington is a great place to be in business, it has the transportation links, the support of two amazing cities in Manchester and Liverpool, the high level of private sector companies that has helped insulate the town throughout the public sector cuts, the right people and the backing of a council that recognise the benefit of supporting private sector businesses and the business community in general. The report will surely help to give the town the recognition it deserves and hopefully encourage more inward investment.

So, would I do it again? Yes, definitely.

Do I wish I'd had longer? Of course.

Did my childhood dream of being on the radio live up to my expectations? Sort of. If I'd been able to select and introduce the next song, then absolutely! But as they say, you can't have everything!! 

Thursday, 17 October 2013

Think of a name, but not any name!

I’ve been on twitter for many years now and was the first person in our organisation to use the platform. At the time my username was @MoodDesign.

Now several years later, the company has grown and each individual has their own work related twitter account, except me.

Following an office move, some financial forecasting and review of our plans for growth, we decided that in order for us to grow we needed to look at ways of improving our communications so that we could extend our network further and take a more targeted approach to our sales drive. And part of that process involved looking at how we communicate on our social media platforms. So we took the decision for me to change my twitter name to run in line with my colleagues and establish a new account that was specifically from the company. That account needed to be reflective of our brand and could be used for company relevant information, hints, tips and images, rather than personal opinions and conversations.

I changed my twitter name to @Sharon_Mood and set up the new account without any issues, linking it to a new email address to aid our return on investment. We took the decision for our company twitter address to be @MoodDesign under the headline ‘Social Media Mood’, as we did not want to use an individual’s name or mislead anyone and it is an account which several people will have access to.

The account was set up and we started to follow about 300 people in business, some we knew, some were specialists in areas that interest us. What was really surprising was how quickly we got followed back. Within two days we reached 100 followers, many of which were linked to social media development and services from all around the world. Whilst these followers aren’t necessarily our target audience, they are a source for information and industry news.

So what have we learnt?
What we came to realise was that the headline that you use to link to your twitter address plays a big part in people being able to find you and follow you. Most people use their actual name as their headline for their personal account, but when you are setting up a company twitter account you really need to take some time to consider some key words that will attract the right followers.

The keywords that you use in your biography are also equally important and should really summarise what you do as an organisation, making it clear which demographic area you work in with links to your website. When was the last time you reviewed yours?

You can follow our progress as a company @MoodDesign, or me individually @Sharon_Mood. I look forward to tweeting with you.

Tuesday, 22 January 2013

Blogging - who, what, why and when?

We are often asked for advice by people wanting to start a blog, and these are the usual questions.

Who? - Who are your articles aimed at and where can you find them, this varies for nearly everyone I know.

What? – What are you going to blog about? Make it interesting and informative, this way people will return to read every post you write.

Why? – Why do people blog? People usually write to get known in their field of expertise. They share their knowledge and help others.

When? – When you have the time but people like regular posts, so we recommend every 2 to 4 weeks as a good starting point.

Our top blogging tips
  • Your title should always be a question – this will encourage others to read your post.
  • Posts should be between 200-300 words – any more and people will get bored and not read the whole article. Break longer articles into part 1 and part 2.
  • Always use at least 1 image per article – the web is very visual, the more visual your post the more it will appeal to readers.
  • Always finish with a question – this encourages responses to your post.
  • Post every 2 – 4 weeks and monitor. Too regular or too few posts may encounter unsubscribers.
  • Publicise your blog - every post needs promoting, use as many online platforms as possible.
  • Ask for feedback – this way you know if your articles are relevant.
  • Register with bloggers forums, this is a great way to get people engaged.
  • Make every post informative and useful.

Have you been inspired to starting blogging?

Friday, 5 October 2012

To buy or not to buy?

Many people new to the field of social media ask this question... should I buy followers or likes?

You can buy followers and likes, and this can help to get you started. Some people are impressed by numbers and this may encourage them to like or follow you.

But you need to remember, these people may not be interested in what you are saying and they probably won’t respond to your posts. You will find a percentage of them will unfollow you fairly quickly and at worst some may even fill your timeline with spam.


You attract new followers and fans buy engaging with them and by delivering useful, helpful information. New followers or fans will not stay connected to your accounts if you cannot fulfil this criteria. You can find useful sources for your content on the internet, talk about blogs, articles and other useful tips.

I have been part of a long discussion on this topic on LinkedIn and the majority of social media managers and users agree that buying likes is not the done thing or the way to success. One or two have been in favour but they really are the minority.

If you are looking to build a successful social media profile, remember it will take time and engagement.

Tuesday, 3 July 2012

Are you doing your bit?

How many times have you avoided putting money in a charity donation tin, ignored someone in the street trying to get you to sign up to give regular charity donations, not bought a charity pin or raffle ticket, or not contributed to a charity bag collection? I hate to say it, but we've all done it - after all you couldn't possibly give to all requests for donations.

Because of the economic climate, (I know, I'm fed-up of hearing that phrase too!) the pressure has increased massively on charities who have suffered because cut-backs and budget slashing exercises. They are having to work harder than ever to secure vital funds needed to keep their crucial services and life lines alive.

At Mood we've found a way that we can donate to local causes without spending a penny - we donate our skills and services in a way that saves the charity time and money! We have been working with The Joshua Tree for almost 2 years now producing marketing material and providing social media training and advice. We have also attended fundraisers and even ran 5K in their fun run. We also recently helped out a local playgroup by producing literature for their charity ball.

Have a think about how as an individual or business you can help a local charity in your area - you might be strong and able to help move furniture, you may be good at financial planning or general office admin, you may have an hour to spare once a week to help plan an event or serve refreshments at a coffee morning. Whatever you can offer is going to make a difference to someone, and in our experience it can be really rewarding, socially beneficial and something to be proud of.

See a recent press interview we did here

To find out more about The Joshua Tree visit

Wednesday, 13 June 2012

Do other people see you as you see yourself?

You will not know the answer to this question unless you ask it!

So earlier this year I did, with some surprising results. I asked two questions to a variety of friends, colleagues and clients to ensure I received a well rounded opinion. My first question was If you read an article in a publication that included me, what would the topic of the article be?

The Article Results:
The most popular first theme was ‘Getting to grips with Social media’ which was followed by a variety of general business topics including ‘Networking for business’ and ‘Marketing’.  Some of the more unusual ones included ‘How to organise yourself’ and ‘Who dares wins’.  The other suggested topics were ‘Innovative individuals’, ‘You can achieve in difficult times’ and ‘Brand identity’.

The second was Can you describe me in 5 words?
Starting with the most popular, the words that people used included ‘Creative’, ‘Reliable’, ‘Honest’, ‘Social’ and ‘Generous’. Now I must admit, I was rather please with the top five especially as being honest and reliable are two of the skills that I look for in others.

These were followed by ‘Fun’, ‘Trustworthy’, ‘Friendly’, ‘Intelligent’, ‘Focused’, ‘Determined’, ‘Organised’ and ‘Positive’.

So what did that reveal to me?
I realised that I am many different things to different people.

Nearly all of the individuals that took part realised that my passion for my work and my determination to get on in life is what motivates me on a daily basis.

Now, I wouldn’t necessarily class myself as organised, but I am more than happy for others to have that impression of me.

Have a go yourself and see if you get an insight and better understanding of how people see you.

Tuesday, 14 February 2012

In the Mood for Red

In the true spirit of Valentine’s Day we thought it only right to stick on some Diana Ross and Lionel Richie, light some candles, scatter petals on the floor, open a box of Dairy Milk and write a blog post?!!

On a day when many people are in the mood for love, we’re busy thinking about our brand and also about how colour can impact on your emotions. Coupled together it's inspired us to write a post specifically about how the colour red makes you feel and what mood it can put you in.

The tradition of sending flowers on Valentine’s Day, most notably red roses, gained popularity in the 1600s. The red rose as a symbol of love dates back much further and can be attributed to the Romans as it was believed to be the favourite flower of Venus, the Goddess of Love. But why red?

Red is the colour of fire and blood, so it’s associated with energy, anger, danger, strength, power, determination as well as passion, desire, respect and love. It certainly is a very emotionally intense colour which is why it’s commonly used on Valentine’s cards, confectionery and is the favoured colour of flowers today.

Red brings text and images to the foreground and when used as an accent colour it can stimulate people to make quick decisions, which is why it’s often used in call to action buttons or in discounts and promotions.

It has very high visibility, which is why it is used on items such as signage and emergency equipment. Red is also commonly associated with energy, so you can use it when promoting energy drinks, games, cars, items related to sports and high physical activity.

So if you use the colour red in your logo and/or marketing material, think about the impact it’s having on your prospects and clients – is it making the right one?

Happy Valentine’s Day!