The Kiwi Social Academy Evening – January: How to train your chimp

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The fireworks in New Zealand are usually the first to be seen as the clock strikes midnight, so it seems appropriate for The Kiwi Social to be the first appointment in my diary for January.

Christmas has been lovely but there’s only so many mince pies and mulled wine a person can take before the business is calling your name and demanding some love and attention.

So, here’s to January – a clean sheet and a fresh start

It’s only the 3rd Kiwi Social Academy Evening since we began in October, but it feels like we’ve been going for ages. We’re a small varied group from all different backgrounds and trades with an open invitation for others to join.  Most of us have moved over from the Business & Bloggers Membership Package from The Kiwi Social’s sister organisation Welshot Imaging Photographic Academy. 

Why join The Kiwi Social?

I’m a blogger and cake designer, self employed and based in sunny Llandudno.

My reasons for becoming a Kiwi Socialite are simple. Running your own business is not a walk in the park. It’s enjoyable and I wouldn’t change it for the world, but there’s just so much to do.

The digital world is changing moment by moment and every time you learn a new skill and feel quite pleased with yourself, some other essential App or software comes along that you simply have to have!

Social Media and digital marketing are no longer an optional extra that you can tinker with if you fancy it. It’s an essential core part of your business planning.

Most of us aren’t IT geeks for whom this all comes naturally. We’re just doing our thing, keeping the business afloat and trying to keep abreast of new developments as they present themselves.

So, if you’re struggling a bit with your business direction, with the complexities of the digital world, or you just don’t have to time teach yourself the latest bit of software, then Kiwi Social is probably worth a try.

Where and when do we meet?

We meet on the first Thursday of every month in a super nice hotel in Chester with free parking, great coffee and a tasty supper. You’ll need to be there by 6.30pm and we finish at 10.

What do we do?

There will always be 3 “Focus On” sessions at these events:

  1. Focus on Business & Personal Development – usually with a presentation from an industry expert

  2. Focus on Technique – learning something technical or a software session.

  3. Focus on Imaging – practical photographic session, creating images that will be useful for you and your marketing

I particularly enjoy the “Flat-lay” set-up with lighting that we use to photograph our business products and props. And don’t worry there’s plenty guidance, support and help with this whatever your experience with a camera.

This month we focussed on branding. Specifically, the 5 W’s of marketing your brand: Who, What, Why, Where and When. We’re all from different industries with completely different products and services so it was interesting to compare how we approach our marketing, and how we could do it better. I had brought some of my cards and leaflets with me and was gratified that they seemed to tick most of the boxes

The “technique” session covered a basic introduction to Canva, a simple graphic design app, and MailChimp – probably the best-known software for business newsletter and email campaigns. Training your chimp turned out to require a lot more time as folk were quite new to it, so we’ll come back to this in more detail on another evening.

Most of us brought our laptops so we could follow along on the screen and have a play with the software features.

I enjoyed being introduced to Canva which I am now using for my blog images. It’s a really easy intuitive app for producing professional quality digital images for social media posting and your blog. It’s free up to a point but if you want to import your logo and use the brand colour facility (which is really nice) you can try the 30-day trial and then pay a small monthly charge.

I have used Mailchimp in the past but am now going through a refresher process as it’s been updated with some useful features. My email database needs some attention too but that’s another story.

Some of us took advantage of the flat lay set up, and the endless patience of Eifion, our photographic guru.

We all enjoyed the tasty supper and chance to chat with each other over a cup of coffee.

For me, taking a few hours out every month to learn new skills, be inspired, think outside the box and meet old friends and new is a really worthwhile investment of my time and a very reasonable amount of money.

Who should come along?

Kiwi Social is above everything friendly and inclusive. Wherever you come from, whatever you know or don’t know – you will be welcomed warmly, stuffed with jelly sweets and inspired to move your business to the next level.

So why not come along and see for yourself.

Judith Bond

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