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The Power of Facebook

With Facebook having more than 1.1 billion users in the world and each user having an average of 141.5 friends*, it’s not really a surprise to hear of people being reunited through this channel and friendships being rekindled. But how about a story of two people meeting for the first time after 34 years of being pen pals? We think this story is pretty special, even if it does involve our MD Adrian. As many of you will be aware, Adrian is currently on his Tour de France challenge, riding all 21 stages of the route, a week ahead of the pro’s. Last Wednesday, stage 10 of the challenge,  proved to be an emotional day for Adrian, but not because of the cycling. It was because he got to meet up with someone he’s been writing to for 34 years but has never met, after she spotted that he was doing the challenge on Facebook.


Over to Adrian to tell you the story:

“When I was 9, I went on a holiday to the Channel Islands. On the way back I threw from the ferry, a bottle with a letter inside. It read “My name is Adrian Lomas – I’m aged 9 and live in England, if you find this letter please write to me”.

Three months later I received a letter from a 9-year old French girl, Emmanuelle Demeautis. She was walking her dog on Cherbourg beach and found the bottle.

We wrote for many years, at one stage we planned to meet in Tahiti when I was travelling, and she was a nurse, but for one reason and another it didn’t happen.

Adrian and Emmanuelle

However, with the power of Facebook, Emmanuelle spotted that I was riding the William Wates Tour De Force event which precedes the whole Tour de France by one week.

This morning, Emmanuelle left home at 7am with her daughter for a two-hour trip, to meet me for the first time on the Causeway of Mont-Saint-Michel. 34 years after we first started writing.

It was a really emotional meeting, we both know each other so well, both have families and are interested in similar things. Her father was a champion cyclist and her cousin is working with a cycling team. Emmanuelle and her husband write and illustrate books.

Now we plan to meet after the Tour finishes, when we can get to meet both families properly.”


An amazing tale and with Mashable having declared 30 June as social media day, we thought this was a great time to share this story with you.


*Statistics taken from

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Why Twitter’s Vine is the best thing since sliced bread

At the end of January 2013, Twitter launched Vine. With a similar interface to its "parent" Twitter, the app allows you to make short looping videos to share with your friends and followers. I know it sounds like it's all been done before, but not like this. After using the app, it quickly became apparent that Vine could be the next best thing since sliced bread!


Once downloaded, the app guides you through profile set-up, taking information from your Twitter account in just one tap and then gives easy instructions to help with your first Vine post. It even adds the hashtag #firstpost. You don't, however, have to be a Twitter user to start using Vine; it just takes a couple of extra taps to get you set up. You then tap to start recording, tap to stop recording and scroll to play. It couldn’t be simpler.

It's all about abbreviation

Just as Twitter is a blog in 140 characters, so Vine allows you to post 6 second videos. They can be created as one long shot or a montage of short clips which can be used to great effect with a little creative thinking. A little like this:


When would you use Vine?

The most creative posts have the highest impact;


You could play games to engage your audience:


You could create something for your "ambassadors" to share


You could demo your product or services:


You could make a big impact...


Get Vine inspiration

If you need some inspiration on how to benefit from Vine, this URL lets you search Twitter for Vine videos

You can also use the following URL to add industry-specific keywords to your search.

This article by Social Media Examiner also provides some great ideas on using Vine for business.




Video: Facebook's possible weaknesses

In this video, I explore two possible weaknesses that Facebook may face in the coming year in the form of being all things to all people, and their mobile presence. Do you think Facebook has a problem?



How Social Media can help your business

As members of the IoD, and with Adrian on the steering committee, we thought it would be wise to offer you the chance to attend a fantastic event in March entitled “Why the heck should I be bothered about Social Media?” Presented by Ben Aronson from Juice Digital in Manchester - Social Media Agency of the Year 2011 - the event is unmissable for anyone looking to find out more about the world of Social Media and pick up some hints and tips on how to get the most from this rapidly expanding channel.

Maybe you're intimidated by Social Media and not really sure where to start? Or you might already be successfully using Social Media and would like to share your experiences? Ben is one of the world's leading experts in this field so you're bound to come away with some ideas to help your business.

Here's the details of the event:

Date: Wednesday 28th March 2012

Time: 8.15am – 10.00am

Venue: Mere Golf & Country Club, Chester Road, Mere, Knutsford, Cheshire, WA16 6LJ

Cost: Members £15 + VAT, Non-members £25 + VAT

To reserve your place, contact Adrian at Blueleaf now on 01829 260 600 or email him at




Back to basics

This weeks tip is short but sweet. As technology is moving on a pace and internet access via various devices is now the norm, it is more important then ever to get back to basics when considering a digital marketing campaign. Look at who you are targeting and the way they might be looking at your campaign. For example teenagers are more likely to access the web via smartphones so using QR codes can help drive traffic to your website. The over 60s however, probably won't use smartphones so using a QR or AR code to target our silver surfers may not achieve the results you are looking for.

Think about what you are aiming to achieve as it is all too easy to get swept up in some shiny new technology that might not be a great return on investment.

I hope this helps.

If you need help with your digital marketing, then contact Adrian Lomas, or Rob Smith, on 01829 260600.



From Tupperware parties to social commerce

A friend of mine has just set up her own business selling beautiful costume jewellery. The business model is based on social selling; you ask friends, family and those in your network to host soirees at their homes and they invite members of their social network to browse the products. It's not a new concept – Tupperware began it in the 60s – but it's still as popular as ever. If your closest friends tell you how fabulous a product is or how good you look in a piece of jewellery, you are much more likely to buy it. It's this principle that we now see working with social commerce. With the popularity of social networking sites and smartphones, it's easier than ever to recommend products to your friends or have them recommend a product to you. This is much more powerful than a recommendation from "everyman". With the relative ease with which you can attach a shopping portal to your social network page, social commerce is a channel you should be considering.

If you need help with selling through your social media, then contact Adrian Lomas, or Rob Smith, on 01829 260600.



The power of engagement seminar for retailers

If you are a retailer wanting to increase your sales, then this is an opportunity not to be missed. Our very own Digital Director, Rob Smith has joined forces with Tangerine PR, uber and Juice Digital to bring together four highly engaging speakers from the worlds of PR, social media, customer loyalty and web design and development. They will share their expertise to help retailers drive sales through the power of engagement. The seminar will take place on Wednesday 19 October 2011 at The Imperial War Museum North in Manchester. Registration will open at 8.30am for a 9.00am start followed by four, 20 minute presentations and a 20 minute question panel. There will be an opportunity to pick the brains of our experts whilst enjoying some networking with other retailers and etailers as well as more refreshments after the session, finishing at 11.30am. No sales pitch, just great content! As if that's not enough, you can park for free,  have a tour of the museum, admire the Quays from the viewing platform and even watch a film "The Big Show". Places are limited so make sure you register soon.

Here's some information about our experts:

Sarah Cross, Managing Director of uber is a customer loyalty expert. She is passionate about delivering results driven solutions for businesses across many sectors, working with brands like ghd and Diesel. With over 14 years experience, she is proud to have helped brands develop and deliver super different customer loyalty and CRM strategy, that drives incremental revenue, engages customers and staff in an uber different and personalised way.

Steve Downes is Managing Director of Juice Digital, Social Media Agency of the year. Steve is responsible for social media strategies for clients. He is also a guest speaker at social media conferences and digital marketing advisor to major brands. He’s been in marketing communications for over 25 years and worked on major brands like Nikon, Siemens and even Big D and Planters Peanuts!

Gary Quinn is Media Consultant at Tangerine PR, National PR Agency of the year. He provides strategic and creative advice and ideas for campaigns, new business and ongoing media activity across all clients and sectors, encompassing consumer, trade and corporate clients. He's worked on major brands like Mars Drinks, Dulux Trade and Turtle Wax helping them to engage with their consumers through media coverage.

Rob Smith, Digital Director at Blueleaf, has been involved in digital media, pretty much since the phrase was coined. A 'techy' who's as good with people as he is with computers, marrying up inspirational design with superb functionality is what Rob does best. Delivering fantastic results for brands like Laura Ashley and Next, he has built a great depth of experience of what does and doesn't work on the web.

We're so excited about the event and really look forward to seeing you there!

You can register here.



Encourage your customers to share

A short and sweet tip this week for any site that sells anything, from Blueleaf's very own Digital Director Rob Smith . Allow your customers to share what they’ve ordered on social networking sites, in particular Facebook. Imagine they’ve just ordered a beautiful new sofa or a cool new flat screen TV; people are generally happy and excited having just made a purchase, so giving them the option to ‘Share your purchase with friends’ can be free and easy marketing for your business.

People like to show off the shiny things they buy, so let them.