17 November 2011

My Top 10 Tips for using Twitter.

I started out on Twitter in 2009, and was inspired when I read stories about coffee shops in America taking orders for more coffee on Twitter! Gosh, who wouldn't be inspired to use a medium like that, increased coffee sales was the mantra in my mind whenever I got on there to tweet. The coffee ordering didn't happen, the questions about our products didn't happen and it was only rarely that someone would think of sharing how wonderful they thought our shop was, on Twitter.

Over 2 years on and when I'm on Twitter, just some of the things I'm thinking about are connections, communications, community, information and inspiration and now, we receive orders on Twitter, we get requests to save cake, we get people asking for more information about a product that I might have mentioned, people retweeting our offers and people mentioning how much they love My Coffee Stop.

It's absolutely incredible how Twitter has helped us to grow our business and our connections, raise our profile in the local community and internationally.

We've even had the local papers follow up our tweets and found ourselves on the front page of the news!

I want to share these tips with you, so that you too can experience the positives that Twitter can bring to your business.

This is what I would tell my business contacts and friends, if they were to ask my advice on how to make the best use of Twitter for their business.


1/ Use Twitter to connect through conversation....
Twitter is great for building connections through conversations, it is not a stream of promotional messages from your company to your public. If you are promoting your company on Twitter by posting special offers constantly and not taking part in conversations and responding to other people's interesting tweets, change the way you're doing it now!

2/ Choose who to connect to...  
It's not just about connecting with your customers or potential customers. You can follow your suppliers or potential suppliers, people in the same area of business as you, people that you could perhaps cross promote with, people from different industries, people that inspire you and people all over the world.

3/ Make your timeline interesting...
What does your timeline do for people? If your timeline does something for people, like cheer them up, inspire them, give useful information, points out things of interest locally and if you contribute to conversations and you're responsive to people's comments, then this will encourage mutual connections to form.

4/ Invest time in Twitter...
Are you getting on Twitter every few days, now and then? If you think it's ok to respond in a few days, well, that's not going to crack it. Twitter is swift and it moves, it's called a timeline because it's timely and it's in realtime and that's how people expect you to respond.

Best thing to do for your business, if you seriously want to use Twitter, is to invest in a phone or pad that will notify you of your Twitter mentions or messages and use it to respond.

If you don't respond to mentions or messages on Twitter in a timely fashion, you might as well not be on there, ever!

5/ Be yourself....
When you write about personal things on Twitter, it adds colour and interest to your timeline, maybe don't get too personal, it needs to be professional too. But I find those timelines with a bit of emotion in them, are more interesting than bland tweets. If you're having a problem with something, then the Twitter community is usually very quick to rally round and help. If you've got a question, post it up there and wait for the responses to come in and don't forget to respond back.


1/ Bore Me...
Posting promotional tweets only, is boring and bland. If I'm thinking of following you and all you have are tweets about yourself, I won't be following, sorry!

2/ Ignore Me...
If I mention you, then write something back. Doesn't take much to do that. If you don't answer back and respond, what's the point on being on Twitter? Just broadcasting, with no interaction on Twitter is not the way to play the game. So remember to respond, respond, respond!

3/ Have an egg avatar...
You won't be taken seriously if you have an egg as your picture, to be frank it looks rubbish! Lots of companies post a picture of their logo but I think for Twitter, people want to connect with the personality tweeting first and then the company, so a picture of yourself could be a more effective avatar than your company logo.

4/ Forget the Biog...
Why am I going to follow you if I don't see something about you, to make a quick easy decision. Forget to fill this in and you've missed the opportunity to make a connection to like-minded people. If you love chocolate, say so. If theatre's your thing, mention it. Your biog doesn't have to be completely business centric.

5/Use the original colours for your background...
Spice up your profile page by making sure that you choose your corporate colours, or your favourite ones, or ones that just look darn good! Don't leave the Twitter background, your profile looks uncared for and un-nurtured.

Get some help with Twitter backgrounds, here.

Find out how to get more help with social media, for your business here.

Connect with me on Twitter, here. Tell me you read this blog and I'll connect back to you.

In the meantime happy tweeting! xx

10 November 2011

Google+ Pages and Profiles

Google+ Pages

Creating your own Google+ page is a piece of cake!
1st Google+ Coffee Shop page.
I believe, that we are the first British coffee shop to have a Google+ Page and it is pretty exciting to be working with the dynamic Google+ social media platform, especially as we intend to extend live hangouts, into our shop!

Just waiting for Network Rail to hack through the jungle that has grown up around the back of Enfield Chase Station and then the engineers will be coming to specially install our broadband!

Create your own business page.
Visit our business page on Google+, you'll easily be able to set up your own business page, just click on the create your own page button. Believe me, you will not need to watch a video tutorial, or read through some instructions, Google has made it all very intuitive and user-friendly.

Once you've set up your own page there's a little button on the left saying 'Get Started' and that will help you to create a Google+ badge for your website and other stuff.

Google+ Profiles

How to connect with the people you already know!

There's no official way to import your personal Facebook contacts into Google+ but there is an unofficial way! Just follow these step by step instructions, here.

Find out which of your Twitter connections are on Google+ by using Find People on Plus.

This amazing website can even help you to find people by location, job, interests and type of posts, it's very powerful and is an excellent tool for gathering your connections onto Google+ and making relevant new connections.

Getting added into other people's circles

How do you get yourself added by other people? Just by interacting, posting and being there. If you don't post, if you don't respond to notifications, if you don't publish, then your name won't get seen and your profile, will be keeping a low profile! Keeping active, posting, adding people to your circles and reacting is the best way to generate new contacts and that goes for just about any of the social media platforms, to varying degrees.

Another good way to get more people to add you to their circles, is by putting a link to your google+ profile and/or page, on your website, at the end of emails, on other social media sites and on your business card and other printed literature.

Don't forget to promote your Google+ business page by putting that as a link on your Google+ profile too.

You can create a short and easy to use link of your Google+ profile by going here.

Keep up with me on Google+ by looking at my profile and putting me in your circles and keep up with
My Coffee Stop, by putting our page into your circles.

Please feel free to put a link to your Google+ profile and/or page in the comments section of this blog and mention what circle/s you reckon people should put you in.

Happy Google plussing. xx

2 November 2011

If You're Going to Google+

If you're going to  Google+, read this first!

Facebook/Twitter Hybrid

As one of the first British people on Google+  before it opened to the public, you'd think that I'd been playing around with Google+ for a few months now but funnily enough, although I had entered my profile and cautiously invited a few other contacts, I hadn't really played around with it until just over a week ago.....


And what fun I have been having! More alive than Facebook, the responses from posters on Google+ are more proactive and you can write longer posts than Twitter, it's an effective hybrid of the two that has developed into a completely new and effective tool for connecting with people globally and locally, on a personal or business level. Not only that but you can have realtime video and audio contact with up to 10 people at once on Google+ Hangouts! Think what that could mean for your social or business life!


Google+ has only just recently opened its doors for business users to come on board, which means that if you have a business account with Google Apps, you can, without being blocked by Google+ extend the social media activity, for your company, to include the Google+ platform!

If you want to take advantage of Google+ for your business and you haven't got an account with Google Apps, I suggest you get one and go from there. You can get Google Apps free here

Please note that, if you have already created a good personal profile on Google+ and you want to build on that but you have a business that is already registered on Google Apps, it is better for you to stick with your personal profile, at the moment. You can wait until Google+ release their migration tool for this purpose, which is expected in the next few weeks.

Get These Links

Whether using Google+ for business, for personal, or for both, make sure you download these brilliant apps from the Chrome Web Store.

1/ Use Google Chrome as your browser, as you will then be able to access some powerful apps that will increase the pleasure and ease of use, of Google+. Get it here.

If you need to transfer your favourites from Internet Explorer, or Fire Fox to Chrome, then read this article.

2/ One of the most exciting and powerful features of Google+ is the ability to 'Hangout'. You really need...a camera, headphones and microphone and to try it for yourself! This is where you go to try Google Hangouts!

3/ To control what circles show up in your stream and other nifty tricks download, PLUS MINUS

4/ To add extra buttons for easier replies download, REPLIES AND MORE

5/ To stop animated images with the escape key, download GIF STOPPER

6/ To integrate Google+ with the Chrome Browser, download SURPLUS

Many thanks to the generous and very helpful Mike Downes, for these links! Might I suggest you add him to your Circles, he is extremely knowledgeable and helpful with it.

What Next?

Google+ is only fun and effective, if you actually have some people in your circles.

So how can you work on getting people into your circles and on getting yourself into other people's circles?

How can you get Twitter followers onto Google+?

How can you find people by location?

How can you create a short and easy to use link to put on the signature of your emails and elsewhere to connect with Google+?

I'll be answering these questions and more, in my next post.

 Keep googling and feel free to add me, Karen Mercer to your circles!

Also, please post questions, ideas and other suggestions, so that we can keep sharing our knowledge.

Thanks for reading. xxx

15 September 2011

Turning a Blind Eye

Burnt out car the day after the riots in Enfield, August 2011.

Are you still left wondering why the riots of last month happened?

I am.

I've been clearing out some old paperwork today and came across a poem I wrote between travel bulletins whilst working at Trafficlink in 2002....

I was just thinking that if we have legislation that ignores crime and legalises certain drugs and that if society feels they have to 'turn a blind eye' to behaviour that is wrong, then maybe that's why things get out of hand. If we feel we can't speak out, as we might get stabbed, even killed, when nobody educates anybody about boundaries and right and wrong, if nobody says anything, then, really, what kind of a society will we get?


I think,
Turning a blind eye to the guy
On the street smoking pot
Thinking he's happy with his lot
with his 5 minute
high and
head in the sky
and a different perspective for a
While on his mundane life.....

Well - I think, turning a blind eye
Won't help his unhappy soul's
feelings unfold -
Open up to the real opportunities
in this world.

We need to see not to be blind
to make him see -
and Not be kind
and give our blessing when
it's his life he's
messing - (and not just his but other people's around him)
smoking dope - Drinking beer -
Wheeling and dealing - buying gear
Hoping he's got enough to last the whole
month until his next pay cheque comes...

What kind of a way is
that to live?
What kind of a future
will that give?
What kind of a way is it
for us to...
Turn a blind eye?
To let sleeping dogs
lie -
to give up - give
let the worst way win,
Turn a blind- I
Don't care a bit
Turn a blind
While he smokes his shit.

I'd like to know what you think about the situation....about the rioting, the stabbings, the way things are at the moment.

Just remember, there are lots of good people in the world, a lot of good people and we need to connect and show we care. That is our power and our strength, not to declare war on these people but somehow, someway we have to see what we are all doing wrong as one society and take responsibility for the way things are and to help impliment change.

Be safe and be well. xxxxx

11 September 2011

9/11 Remembering

Ten Years Ago Today. 9/11

I drove along to the Canada Life building in Potters Bar, the sun shining, the sky a gorgeous, clear, autumnal blue, patches of golden leaves with spikey edges, almost silhouetted against the intense blueness of the sky.....nature so beautiful, even in plain old Potters Bar.....

Today was the day that I'd be exchanging contracts on my first ever home purchase....a monumental first for me and a real step forward, moving out from the council flat, where I lived with my partner Gunter, over the disused garages....garages with old sofas and rubbish in, where young boys came and for fun, lit fires.....flats, where just outside my door a fragile skeleton of a boy, who looked already half dead, was enjoying his high, or escaping from the pain of his life, using sweet smelling sticky brown drugs on burnt foil.....a place where youths would run across the flat roof and peer into your private flat.....I couldn't wait to leave......the council flat that I was put in after my breakdown, the flat that was meant to be a safe place for me-a refuge, was turning into a nightmare place to live........I couldn't wait to move into a very small flat with Gunter and have a fresh new start....my nerves were frazzled from living in the council flat and I felt like I would have another breakdown, if I stayed any longer.

It was with these hopes of a new beginning to my life that I walked into the Canada Life building, to exchange contracts, with the lady flat owner that worked there......the foyer looked dark, after coming in from the sun......shadows of people were fixated, the foyer was silent, apart from the sounds the tv. My first thought, as I looked through the silhouetted shapes of people to the large tv screen, was that it was unusual for staff at a financial company to hang around in the foyer, watching an action film on tv. Motionless, every single person was captivated by the image of a plane crashing into a tower and flames........not even a nod from the receptionist, her eyes glazed, fixated and her mouth slightly open as she watched transfixed.........I was the only one moving, walking on the shiny floor.....looking around me.....not understanding what was going on........

The sickening image of the plane crashing into one of the twin towers, was replayed over the next days and weeks, again and again.......I felt devastated by it......plunging into the tower, again and again, repeating and repeating........it was a filmic image but it was real and then turned into an iconic clip...not quite real......I couldn't watch the news, with the constant and continual repeats of that clip......watching the real life death of real people, played over and over again and even in slow motion.....where was the respect? Images of evil transmitted, time and time again.....crime against human kind, in glorious colour......glorified, transmitted.....on and on.......

And nobody knew why, or could understand. That's all I remember saying for a long time, 'I don't understand'.

Ten years on, if there was a message to understand, a campaign, a cause, an unjust, a people so oppressed that they had to fight back......I still don't understand.....the message was marred by the medium......

Against the anger of others, I've tried to have an open mind about this but then I have the luxuary of having my relatives and friends unharmed by the attack.....I tried to see that what I call terrorist, someone else might call freedom fighter.....I really tried to understand........all I knew was that for some people, any good pr for the Muslim community had been seriously destroyed......Many people found it easy to point the finger at Islam and then in turn to hate any Muslim person.

Hating a group of people is what destroys us......and what also, maybe, destroyed the people that carried out the attacks...they hated so much, they lost their own lives.....

People point to those attacks and use them as evidence that religion is bad.....'We shouldn't have religion it causes wars.' they say......

Whatever tool we have to hand, we can use for good, or bad.....

Use a knife to cut and chop food, or use it to kill...
Use stones to build a shelter, or throw them to smash shop windows and loot.
Use religion as a guide how to live your life and love the people around you, or use the rules as an excuse to kill.....

My closest dearest friend is Muslim and I am Jewish......we connect by building bridges and not walls, we love each other and share with each other different beautys from our religion. Through my friend, I have a deeper understanding of Islam.

I don't understand why these attacks happened but the one thing I have learnt over these past years is that they have nothing to do with Islam and any God, would agree.

Be peaceful, I love you. xxxx

Respect and peace to anyone who has lost anyone, anywhere.....I send you love, sympathy and a rainbow promise. xxxxx

25 August 2011

QR codes are the business

I'm really excited about incorporating QR codes into our marketing strategy.

QR codes, in case you didn't know are those strange black and white graphics made of blocks that your mobile phone scanner can read, if it has the right softwear and when you scan it, you get a website, message, link to facebook or something else like that, appear on your phone. Actually, they don't have to black, they can be other colours and you can actually incorporate your logo into it too. Haven't worked out how to do that yet!

Just incredible.

I was at Minuteman Press in Potters Bar (@MinuteManPB on Twitter), the other day and we were having real fun imagining the different ways that this graphic could be used....I mean apart from business, can you imagine people having the link to their facebook profile tatooed onto their arm, so that it could be scanned by people that wanted to date you and learn more about you....wierd...or maybe when they got old and wrinkly, they'd have to stretch their skin to scan it and maybe Facebook would no longer be around.

My coffee shop is at the end of the station platform, I think it would be cool to have these codes stuck up, randomly, along the tunnel leading to the platform stairs. Maybe they could offer a free coffee, or something that entices people to try our shop for the first time.

What would you do if you saw one of those codes posted up with no message on it? Would you be curious enough to scan it, just to see what it revealed?

Anything that gets your customer actively involved and turns their experience of your brand into a game and gets them emotionally involved and connected with your company has to be good for you and for them, doesn't it?

If you're going to platform 1, Enfield Chase Station, keep your eyes peeled, there could be a free coffee, or a free piece of cake posted up on the wall!!

Keep happy, somethings in life are free! xxxx

I'll be sticking this up today.....

20 August 2011

Positivity makes the front page!



It’s not often that positive and optimistic stories make the front page, is it? But I was really surpised and inpressed by the attitude of the Enfield Advertiser, this week, when it picked up on the positive stories that were happening in Enfield, after the riots. the Advertiser, instead of being all doom and gloom fought back the negativity of the riots with a really uplifting edition highlighting all the good things people are doing in our local community to help restore faith in human nature.

Yes, it was great that My Coffee Stop was featured on the front page, for the donations of items that we had helped to accumulate by acting as a collecting point and then driving stuff down to Tottenham Green Leisure Centre every day….but there were also other inspiring stories, to lift the spirits.

I was so pleased that Paul Cooper from Fast Signs, was featured with his fantastic idea to create stickers to be given out and put up all over Enfield, saying ‘We Love Enfield, keep smiling’, his idea got people talking and smiling and that’s a really important thing to do, for our community. We felt so wounded after the riots but this positive press, really helped to heal.the picture od smashed glass, with a bright sticker on and smiling faces, really says it all!

Look at the picture here….http://www.northlondon-today.co.uk/news.cfm?id=30794&searchword=fast signs

There’s also a great article that shows that youngsters rioting is the not the norm, where young people and their sensible voices are heard,and put in print, rather than giving space for what the rioters/looters say, or think.

It’s the support of the writers and photographers on the Enfield Advertiser that’s really helped to highlight all that’s good about Enfield….we must thank our lucky stars that we have a local paper with people that really care about the community working on it.

Read the news for Enfield here, http://www.enfield-today.co.uk/

Keep safe, be strong and stay positive, Karen, xxx