Posts tagged: cpd

Generating a Social Currency in a Social Media Jungle

27 November 2014

Generating a Social Currency in a Social Media Jungle

Generating social currency is one of the most important investments an organisation can make to their social media strategy. In today’s ‘social media jungle’ it is crucial that every business strives to create value to their brand. With this is mind, just how can you make your company standout from the rest by tempting your followers and consumers to share and talk about your product with others?

The aim of this blog is to investigate best practice in generating a positive social currency for an educational brand, ie a university or training company, often stereotyped as being ‘uncool’, ‘boring’, and ‘sensible’ with todays ‘generation Z’ society, a society which dominates a large proportion of social media…

I work for an organisation called Salford Professional Development (SPD), a training and events company which is a subsidiary of the University of Salford. In a sentence, SPD essentially manages professional development (CPD) events and conferences aimed at professionals hoping to advance their careers in a wide range of sectors. A great company to work for, but just how easy is it for us to ensure people follow, like and share their event experiences with their ‘friends’, colleagues and like-minded people, thus maximising brand recognition and ultimately ROI?

Salford Professional Development Logo

SPD Logo

In week 8 of my Search and Social Marketing training course, Tom Mason @totmac from Delineo delivered an excellent presentation to the class focusing on social currency and why people share information about themselves and products they wish to be associated with. The key points I took from this were:

People share content online to make themselves look good to their friends and colleagues

  • 40% of content that people share is talking about themselves
  • The reason for people sharing is to reinforce their identity
  • People are vain and want to show off
  • Exclusivity – To show that they are different to others

When considering the above influencers, the next and most challenging aspect to consider is knowing how best to communicate and tap into your audiences with an ongoing emphasis on influencing them to share their positive experiences of your brand with their friends and colleagues.

A social marketers dream is for people to follow and like your Twitter, Facebook and Linkedin pages for the shear fact of knowing if they do, they will be engulfed in  a community of like-minded people open to networking, sharing best practice, talking about your service, and generally building a buzz and positive feeling around your brand. In reality, it is rare for this to happen without lots of hard work (or money) thrown at it. While reading around this topic, I feel that the below points are the key triggers to encourage social currency and increase brand awareness:

  • What story are you going to tell them? What is your USP?
  • What content are you going to create to explain this message?
  • What value are you going to add?
  • What do you want them to do?

In the case of Salford Professional Development, our USP is the high quality service that we consistently deliver on 100+ events a year. Delegate feedback is almost always positive, therefore a good strategy to use throughout would be to not only tell the world about it, but also to influence our customers to tell their world about it. With this in mind, how about:

  • Tweet your experience of the event and receive 50% off the next time you sign up with us
  • Share a photo on Instagram or Facebook and automatically enter a monthly prize draw for your organisation to receive 7 free conference tickets over the next 12 months
  • Tag yourself in the forthcoming event logo and enter a prize draw to win £200
  • Set up a google reviews function on your web page, further advertising previous our customers positive (and negative) experiences with the company. If you have faith in your product, this should bring trust and authenticity to potential new customers

A recent article on Buzzfeed stated that what people express through sharing content online is how they’d like to be perceived. Readers want to show that they have an interest in the real human world and that they can provoke a positive emotional reaction. This is crucial for SPD to play on and also demonstrates the importance of capturing the customers positive experience, hopefully resulting in them sharing this with their friends and colleagues. A long standing theory is that word of mouth advertising is the best form of advertising!

In conclusion, the rise of social media has meant a massive increase of information about products and services. But what drives people to promote products and services on social media?

The psychology and tapping into the desire of people to appear knowledgeable, attractive, or just generally appealing to their friends while using your brand and service is crucial.  If you adopt a combination of promoting a positive product experience along with a relevant social media platform for your audience to share their experiences, you should be well down the road to generating a healthy social media following, if not a social media empire!

Posted by Mark Almond –




Why I chose the Search & Social Media Marketing Course

27 November 2014

Hmmm… So, which course?  These were my initial thoughts.  Do I do a long distance course or do I stay close to home and come to the building.  By opting for the SSMM (Search and Social Media Marketing) at Media City, I now know, I made the perfect choice.

salford university media city

University of Salford Campus – Media City

It had all the aspects that I was hoping for and none of the ones I feared.  I didn’t want to just do ‘a course on seo and social media’… I wanted the course that would add value to my skillset.

When you leave University and/or Further/Higher Education, the question usually is… “What experience do you have?”… This is usually followed by an answer consisting of erms, buts and opportunity.  In other words, doing your best to prove you are willing to learn.

For probably only the second time in my life, I found myself on the other side of the argument.  As, somewhat fortuitously and serendipitously I found myself knowing a lot about SEO, social media and digital marketing, but didn’t have the academic or professional qualifications or accreditations to back up my experience or prove what I knew.  So it was important on my part that I showed evidence of Continued Professional Development (CPD).

I work in the charity and voluntary sector, so it is vital to spend the limited resources we have in the most productive, efficient and effective way possible.   This just happened to involve social media, website building, search engine optimisation and other aspects of digital marketing.  This is because, these activities can be done on a very limited budget; the challenge being, knowing what to do and having the time to invest.

So began my journey into the world of social media, website building and SEO.  It started off as a hobby with the website/organisation I founded called, Positive About MS ( and it’s social media following which now reaches out to about 10,000 supporters!  Subsequently I developed a website called, The Luggie Scooter (, which features on the first page of Google and in some cases features in the coveted Golden Triangle section of Google on page1!

So you can see SSMM was something I fell into and something I just happened to enjoy too, not realising at the time it would become Web 2.0.

However, all this experience didn’t give me what I needed, which was a way to quantify what I know and give me a recognised professional accreditation and/or qualification.

The Search and Social Media Marketing course

Right from the first week of the course I liked what I saw.  From the email communication prior to arrival, to the structure and general feel of the class.  It was just what I hoped it would be.  There was a structure to the whole course and it was clear what the course would give you.  I thought it would be more formal and not as comfortable, but I was pleasantly surprised.   I really liked the layout, atmosphere and the general way of teaching.

One of the reasons I opted for the course, was the opportunity of interaction with the course leader (Alex Fenton @AlexFenton) and the chance to ask questions in person.  This also exceeded my expectations.  You could speak in person, via social media, on private linkedin groups or by email.  It gave you further reassurance that you weren’t just going to be given course notes with a presentation.

Guest speakers

The format of giving you a presentation on the subject matter, followed by a talk and Q&A session from an industry professional worked really well and I got more than I expected from it.  We got the opportunity to hear from the likes of Phil Morgan (@PhilipMorgan) & Tom Mason (@totmac) from Delineo (@Delineo), Aisha Choudhry (@AishaZulu) from Fast Web Media (@FastWebMedia),  and the UK’s Number 1 best selling small biz marketing author; Dee Blick – pictured (@DeeBlick) of


dee blick pic

Dee Blick – Guest Speaker

I also felt the course was well pitched and did exactly what it said on the tin!  Initially I was apprehensive that parts maybe too basic or complex, however this was not the case and it was helpful that Alex Fenton would sometimes spend more time on certain subject areas than others, based on the group and what we needed.

It was never a case of times up and that’s it, you got a chance to review what we’ve already discussed and check your understanding.

One of the many revelations to me personally was the benefits and features of using Google Drive, something I was neither keen nor found necessary to use before I went on the course.  Google Drive allowed you to revisit slides and talks from previous weeks and made it very easy to review course notes.

I found it very refreshing and useful that information on the course and was freely shared by Alex, and that was what I had hoped for.  If there was something you were not sure on, there was always the opportunity to revisit it out of class time, with informal group sessions.

Overall, this course has filled in those missing gaps from my own learning’s and has also introduced me to industry terms and given me a chance to quantify what I already knew, by putting names and phrases to the processes I was practicing.

Furthermore it has opened up my eyes more to the idea of Web 2.0 and the importance of Digital Marketing.

Hopefully, this has helped you regarding your professional development course choice.  Feel free to share this post or share your views, I am @mrkazlaljee on twitter and you can use the hastag #ssmmUoS

More information & booking details for the Search & Social Media Marketing Course  &  Salford University location at Media City UK – Video