Thursday, 25 August 2016

Our Day at #OGgetkidsintogolf Event

On Monday myself, Mr D, Mr C and Miss J hopped on the train and headed for the Hilton Hotel in Leeds city centre. We had been invited to a fab event with Online Golf, the #OGgetkidsintogolf event launched an initiative to ‘Get Kids into Golf’ this summer. There were some great activities for us to join in with such as a 6 hole indoor golf course, chipping nets, golf ten pin bowling and some expert golf pros on hand to help the little ones out with their swing.
We were split into 3 groups so it was easy to move around each of the activity and the kids got the chance to play golf ten pin bowling, getting the golf ball into a target area, chip the ball into the score slots and play the 6 hole golf course. 

The kids first task was to get some target practice in, they got points dependent on which area the golf ball stopped in. This game was all about controlling the balls and hitting it at the right pace. They got 3 balls each to have a go and they all managed to get a decent score.
Next up was the golf bowling which they were all excited to try out, you had to hit the ball as hard and fast as you could to knock the pins down. Each of the pins had a number on, so you got a score, we managed a respectable score between the 4 of us, the kids really enjoyed this one.
All 3 of the kids loved the 6 hole golf course and they spent a lot of time playing it after the guided session. I couldn't get them off it in time to go home. The staff on hand were amazing with the children and really patient. Mr C couldn't get the hang of turning his hands backwards to hold the club, so ended up playing more like croquet!
The last activity we all tried out was the chipping balls into the score nets. We all got 3 tries each but none of us managed the technique! We scored a big fat zero on this game, but the kids loved having a go anyway. We were served a delicious lunch of open sandwiches and hot chips and left with a rather fab goodie bag for each of the kids.

Online Golf has also compiled  5 top tips from their team about why kids should get into golf:
  1. More kids can play golf! For golf you don't have to be tall, strong or fast or lean. Successful golfers come in all shapes, sizes and ages.
  2. It's low-risk! Chances of injuries in golf are very small to non-existent compared to other popular sports like football or rugby. Being no-contact, golf is a very safe, respectful sport.
  3.  It's healthy! Golf is an outdoors sport giving kids the opportunity to exercise al fresco whilst enjoying nature.
  4. It creates bonds with friends & family! Whether your kid plays golf with family members, friends or takes lessons with a pro, mentoring and playing together will create unique and close bonds that will last a lifetime.
  5. Your kid will learn important life lessons! Playing golf, kids will experience highs and lows, from the first hole-in-one or birdie to a misplaced shot in a bunker. Golf will teach your kid that though we can't always win, we always have another shot in life and skill comes with practice.
Thanks to Online Golf for the invite and the Hilton Leeds for the fab venue, we all had a blast in Leeds. The kids have definitely sparked an interest in golf and can't wait to play again.
Thanks For Reading
Mandy

Wednesday, 24 August 2016

5 Tips To Running A Successful Social Media Page

I am Liam, the Social Media Executive for the online sales retailer Lovethesales.com. A UK top 100 Start-Up which aggregates sale items from over 500 of the biggest retailers in the UK, including Fashion, Electronics, Home & Garden. I am going to run you through a few quick tips I have picked up over the past year to run a successful social media page.

1. Know Your Audience 
The first step should be to draw a clear picture of the main groups of people that visit your website, business and or social pages. You can find this information with analytical tools like Facebook Insight, Twitter Analytics & Google Analytics. Once you have some key demographics like age and gender, you can begin to understand who you are trying to reach and engage with on your social pages and which platform is best for reaching them.

2. Value Proposition
The best way to reach your target audience is to first look at what you have to offer them on social media. Many businesses get this completely wrong and their eyes light up at the prospect of utilising a free marketing tool to sell to their audience. Social media is an extremely demanding place and people will switch off if they do not see the benefit they get from your page. It’s crucial to understand what value your audience is receiving whilst following your page. This could be in the form of helpful information, aesthetically pleasing pictures or even just a light funny post. The more you understand what makes your audience tick, the easier it will be to target posts that will drive engagement. This will in turn, build a relationship between your social pages and the audience, so when it comes time for them to, for example, ‘make a purchasing decision’, they will have more of an affinity to your business than your competitors.

3. Learn From Your Competition
A great way to understand what content works for your audience is to look at your competitor’s social media accounts or any in your related field and see what amount of engagement they get on different types of posts. This is fundamental to understanding what connects with a similar type of audience. The most successful social pages today will mimic, copy and paste content that begins to go viral and is popular among social media consumers. While you want to avoid breaking any copyright infringements, there is definitely a case to follow and check who’s getting it right on social media and why.

4. Feedback
Testing posts through trial and error is a perfect way of improving your value proposition which will lead to better engagement with your audience. I gather all the analytical information from Facebook insight and Twitter analytics and hold it all in an excel spreadsheet, this allows me to see which posts are working and which aren’t and draw objective conclusions. However, analytics can be misleading. For instance, I started off posting funny cat pictures and videos (which of course got a lot of engagement at the time), but had no relevance to the brand. I found out quickly that I had to strike a better balance between providing a great value proposition but also relating the content back to our brand.

5. Build An Active Audience
Big brands are starting to see how frivolous the number of followers or likes they have on their social pages, especially if the audience is not engaged in some way. The majority of our competitors have huge social followings but their constant barrage of salesman type posts receives minimal engagement, this is because their audience have switched off, they have liked the page or followed the brand but have become what I like to call ‘fan zombies’. People don’t go on social media to be constantly sold something and they like brands pages because they feel personally connected to that brand in some way and like their value proposition. To keep an active audience, you need a good combination of the last four points. The most successful businesses on social media are constantly evaluating their value proposition. They are the quickest in reacting to how people absorb content and why they engage in the first place.

Following these 5 steps will not only improve brand awareness and your Search Engine Optimisation standings (as google take social engagement as an indicator of more relevant results). It also builds a personality around your business, social page or brand, creating a connection with your audience which in todays saturated online world, is priceless.

Thanks For Reading
Liam Solomon 
Social Media Executive - Lovethesales.com

Tuesday, 23 August 2016

The Vax Air Stretch Pet Upright Cleaner Review

If you saw my post Say Hello To Honey a few months back, you will know we now own a rather cute doggy. Honey is now all settled in, when I got her I was told she was a puggle, a lovely short haired breed, but she is the hairiest puggle I have ever seen! This means I am fighting a constant battle with the stairs carpet and the dog hair. I was until now losing the battle, but thanks to the Vax Air Stretch Pet Upright Cleaner I am now winning the war!
The Vax Air Stretch Pet is a powerful and lightweight upright vacuum cleaner with a long reach hose and cord. It’s also perfect for homes with pets as the TurboTool helps to remove stubborn dirt and pet hair from surfaces around your home. As you can see from the video there is zero construction required and it all clicks together for ease of storage.
All of the attachments and buttons are nice and chunky and they are blue so really easy to see. I love the colours used on the vacuum, the bright blue and grey look stunning together. The cord of the vacuum is a massive 13 metres long and the cord clip is big enough to wrap all of the cord around for tidy storage. The 3 important buttons on the vacuum are all just below the main pipe, the power button, the brush rotate which enables you to turn the rotating brush on & off and the lock button to remove the dust canister.
The vacuum comes with 3 useful attachments to help with the war against pet hair. The crevice tool is 3in1, it acts as a solid crevice, move the slider down and it has a smooth end and the other end has a brush end, it's great for using on all type of fabrics and floorings. The turbo tool which is just the perfect attachement for combatting the stairs and the sofa, the rotating brush head really aggravates the carpet and lifts out the hairs. The vacuum handle comes out of the hoover and you can attach the additional hose and make a combined reach of 17 metres, this means you can plug the unit in at the bottom of the stairs and clean right up to the top.
Honey took a liking to the crevice tool!

The slider on the front of the vacuum allows you to easily switch between low pile and deep pile carpets. It's really easy to just slide over with your foot when you need to, so no bending down required. You can really feel the 820w suction power when you have it on the deep pile setting, it really sucks the carpet.
It has a fab HEPA media filter, the filter is locked under a safety cover under the dust container, the great thing about the filter is that is it replaceable. You can buy a replacement from the Vax website for £15, this means your vacuum can last for years if you keep your filter in top condition. Not that you need worry as the vacuum comes with a massive 6-year guarantee.
All of the materials are great quality, even the hose attachment on the vacuum. We have had vacuums in the past that have been made from cheap materials and the hose is the first to thing to split. I was impressed with how lightweight the vacuum is and it glides like a dream. It goes from my laminate to carpet with ease and you can easily use the floor selector to switch modes really easily. It's not great at turning corners, but it is so light it is easy enough to lift it slightly onto 2 wheels and it goes round that way.
Just Look At All That Fur Off The Stairs
Overall  I love the vacuum its perfect for our needs, its lightweight (only 4.9kg) for carrying around, but thanks to the massive 17 metre combined reach you really don't need to carry it. The filter is replaceable, it's got incredible suction and it has all the tools us pet owners could possibly need. The multi-cyclonic action means you will never lose suction. I think the results speak for themselves if you look at the above picture, all that dust and hair is from my hall, stairs and landing and the box bedroom which are carpeted. They had been hoovered just 2 days previously and looked pretty clean to the naked eye! The Vax Air Stretch Pet Upright Vacuum retails at £249.99 and it is one of the bestsellers for Vax and after trialling it I can see why.
Thanks For Reading
Mandy
*I was sent the above item for the purpose of an honest review