What’s all the #fuss about?

Everyone is doing it, our behaviour on social media is somewhat skewed to how we would behave off line.  So to start let’s have a bit of fun with this video:

Why do we feel compelled to self-market such things as our relationship status, new clothes, shoes, pets, kids etc. and why do we Like, Share, Feel Sad 🙁 Feel Happy 🙂 and #####! Social media is at the forefront of people’s minds and corporate marketing campaigns and it continues to grow. Some love it and some hate it, and there are even those that make a strong point of refusing to get involved. We are friends with people we haven’t been friends with for years and yet we share so much information, is this good? Or in some circumstances even relevant? Apparently YES! With over 1.23bn Facebook users and 175 million Twitter accounts, many businesses, singers and individuals can create a following at the drop of a hat.  It’s so easy to @connect, Like, Share, Comment and #discover.

Use of the #Hashtag 

Even funnier is the video after the one above with Justin Timberlake and Jimmy Fallon, portraying the hilarious over use of the hashtag in social media. If you haven’t watched it, you must. They talk so quickly and it is reflective of the speed and intensity of some social online chats, it continues the point of how our behaviour online is different to that off line.

On a serious note, it is a fact that your social media messages will create more engagement and followers if you do utilise this marketing tool online. That is what the #tool was designed to do; compliment ideas, build trends and poke a little humour and creativity into our marketing campaigns.

Interesting #facts:

  • # was first introduced in 2007 on Twitter
  • # support was then utilised on Instagram and Google + in 2011
  • Fllickr adds # support in March 2013 on its iO5 app
  • As we know, the Super Bowl is a massive leader for marketing campaigns and some 50% of marketing commercials include #
  • June 2013 Facebook finally added # as an official search support

(Ref Social Media Today November 2013)

# Will help you build your brand, it can build campaign strength alongside relevant and unique content. Ultimately, it pulls in genuinely interested customers who are # followers. After all, 70% of people who are # followers are mobile users and 55% of your messages will be re-tweeted as opposed to those who don’t.

Recent Success

#SingItKitty is a brilliant example and the 3rd # success for mobile company www.three.co.uk where a girl is riding her bike with a cute singing cat to the song ‘We Built This City’. It’s an extremely clever and well thought out campaign that capturing:

  • Humour
  • Catchy
  • Viral
  • Pulls on emotions  (cat lovers, parents, 80’s generation, memories, children)
  • Interactive – Just logon to http://www.singitkitty.co.uk/ stick your own face in and see what happens…

Over To You

Now you have an idea of what’s involved and how many people use it, it’s your turn. Get practicing for your own company’s marketing. Play with it, see what works and what doesn’t work, monitor your analytics and enjoy. Watch your social messages generate engagement and follower stats grow – you will soon see a change.

Stepping Stones Success!

kent-foundation-emma-whittal-kei-winner-2012-rectangle-563Client: Emma Whittall

Business: Stepping Stones Studio

Description: A community arts centre to showcase emerging local talent

Telephone: 07787 470495

Website: www.steppingstonestudios.co.uk/

Emma Whitall Founder and Managing Director at Stepping Stone Studios, graduated from Cambridge University and the University for the Creative Arts.

Emma was introduced to the Kent Foundation via contact with one of our Trustees & Chairman of Kent County Council. In order to help develop her ideas, she accessed the Mentoring Service to help her develop a business plan for Stepping Stones Studio. Emma subsequently entered the Kent Entrepreneurs Initiative (KEI) and went on to win. In return she received a package of free support from a range of business experts from across Kent.

Why did you decide to launch your own business?

I wanted to create an artistic studio in Maidstone which aims to reflect the ethos of the community I am working with in new and interesting ways.  I want to realise and develop innovative ideas with profitable and original results.    I just love collaborating with people from diverse backgrounds, utilising my own skills but also honing the interests of others to achieve maximum success.

Stepping Stones Studio is a community interest company and I am passionate about promoting aspiring and established artists in Kent. 

What support have you received?

Stepping Stones Studio is a self-designed arts initiative and received initial sponsorship and funding by Kent County Council.

Emma entered Kent Foundation’s 2012 KEI-Business Challenge and as the winner received a package of support from Kent Foundation’s business partners, including accountancy support from Wilkins Kennedy

Emma is linked with a Business Mentor and said “The Kent Foundation has been a great help and my mentor, Rob Bird, has been brilliant”

“For a young entrepreneur making your idea a reality is the first big step. Writing a business model that works is one thing- putting it into action is another. Kent Foundation helped me put my business idea into a real-life context, helping me make it a reality by giving me a business mentor with real experience, real connections, and real encouragement.”

What do you hope to achieve in business? 

I want to encourage and enable visual artists by providing, affordable studio space, cafe, gallery and shop.  In five years I hope the studio will have become a real artist hub, with tourists coming in, lots of events, open mic nights and art at its core.


The NETFORCE 2 project was selected as part of the France (Channel)-England cross border European cooperation programme INTERREG IVA co-financed by ERDF. This project was launched in January 2011 and ran until September 2013 in Kent and the Upper Normandy region. It gave the opportunity to test new tools to support the entrepreneur in his journey to create a new or take over an existing business.

KEI 2012 – A big step on the way to glittering business success

kent-foundation-emma-whittal-kei-winner-2012-rectangle-563peer-award-winner-daniel-warren-kent-foundation-rectangle-516kent-foundation-kei-2012-rectangle-562Client: Business Challenge 2012 Participants

Business: A range of business ideas

Description: Kent Entrepreneurs’ Initiative

Telephone: 01622 694341


Now firmly in our annual calendar and for the third year running, budding entrepreneurs have had the opportunity to develop business skills and practice presentations before heading off to the Kent Entrepreneurs’ Initiative – Business Challenge 2012.

Talking about new business ideas always creates a buzz!! Networking and chatting with other young business people, kick-started the first of our seminars.  With mentor support, mock-presentations to the group helped to build up confidence in presenting the dream of growing a successful business.

Biggest and best    On the 7th March 2012, guests gathered at Canterbury Cathedral Lodge for an evening of “there be dragons!”     After some informal networking, we sampled a delightful hot buffet.  Then ten young entrepreneur finalists gathered in the wings to pitch their business ideas to our panel of Business Partners.

This is just the beginning ……  we think it’s a great opportunity to bring businesses to life, but don’t take our word for it ….

Emma wanted to create and fund an artistic studio in Maidstone   “The Kent Foundation has been a great help and my mentor, Rob Bird, has been brilliant.   In five years I hope the studio will have become a real artist hub, with tourists coming in, lots of events, open mic nights and art at its core”.   Winner, Emma Whittall (age 23) who opened Stepping Stone Studio in April

“Thank you very much; it was a genuine surprise as I honestly didn’t think my presentation was as good as I envisioned it to be!

Clearly I presented myself and my ideas in a far better way than I considered, so I was hugely chuffed to win the Peer Award – it’s given me a massive boost of confidence as well as the motivation to move forward with my business – after all “Businesses don’t stand still, they either go forwards, or they go backwards”

I am extremely grateful for the opportunity to pitch, as well as the useful workshops, it was an absolutely fantastic experience!     I’m still buzzing about it now!”   Peer Award Winner, Daniel Warren

Introducing our 2012 Guest Speaker

KEI – Business Challenge Success Session is known for the calibre of our guest speakers and we always aim to invite a successful Kent business person to come along and pass on their tips for success in business.   This year Declan Treanor from the Kent Investors’ Network told of how he achieved his enterprising successes and happily answered questions.

There is a wealth of talent and enthusiasm throughout Kent.  Together we can help young people realise their dreams.

We say a very special thank you to all our Business Partners who kindly offer a package of in-kind expert advice and help FREE to the Business Challenge finalists.  This year our panel line up included:

  • Warners Solicitors
  • WSQsolutions
  • Cfa-Group (Marketing)
  • Wilkins Kennedy Accountants
  • Kent Association of Young Entrepreneurs (IoD) (Members’ Networking)
  • Enterprise Experience – invitation to attend the 2012 summer residential

Business Tip

It’s impossible to have skills in every aspect that a business requires.  Networking with other entrepreneurs gives the chance to seek out solutions.

The KEI – Business Challenge ia the perfect opportunity to promote your business idea, expand your contacts, and WIN some expert help.

The KEI – Business Challenge 2013 will be formally launched in November.

See our KEI page for more information.