Tel: 0345 621 4321


“How’s your father?” – Some social media engagement tips

Not all of us feel sociable all of the time – and that’s probably a good thing. Great works of art and scientific inventions, for instance, demand a more reclusive side. However, when it comes to promoting your brand you will need to bring out your party face.

Here then are some quick tips on kick-starting social media conversations, and engaging with your target audience:

– Be a fellow-participant, not a distanced salesperson

Communicate with your readers in a human, down-to-earth fashion. Going in heavy with pushy selling techniques is likely to backfire. It’s possible, of course, to promote your brand within this context, but in a conversational way. If your company sells lightsaber toys you might want to keep people up to date with developments on the forthcoming J J Abrams Star Wars movie, for instance, slipping in the occasional mention of light sabres as you go.

– Ask questions

A non-patronising, thought-provoking question can help members feel involved with your brand whilst also provoking discussion, which can in turn attract new followers or fans. The question doesn’t even have to be a debate starter, it can be plain chatty. On December 24th last year, the Facebook Fan Page of popular singer Rebecca Ferguson, simply posted “Is everybody ready for Christmas?” along with a picture of the star herself in a striking yellow dress and Santa hat. The question, doubtless because it was straightforward, direct, and inclusive, attracted 3,782 likes.

– And finally… Humour

Humour is a great leveller and puts everyone at their ease. Quirky, witty posts, even if they only tangentially relate to your brand, should be naturally interspersed with the more meaty stuff. However, it’s advisable to stick to one of the golden rules of comedy. Post what makes you laugh, not what you think will make other people laugh.

Getting right on Q: 7 words where Q is not followed by U

Probably the most peculiar letter in the English alphabet is the 17th one. Rarely used at the best of times, what makes it even more exclusive is that it almost always needs another letter beside it to be of any use at all.

Aside from struggling to get on with any letter other than U, the Q also doesn’t really represent any sound we can’t make just as well with other letters. There’s no reason why we can’t spell ‘quick’ as ‘kwick’, or ‘quiche’ as ‘kiche’. As for the word ‘queue’, what on earth is going on there? Barely a single letter in that word is behaving as it should do.

Still, Q does have its place in our language and culture. It’s the name of a James Bond character, a leading music magazine and the first letter on our keyboards. It’s clung onto its place in the English language and, just occasionally, can function without the help of its vowel friend.

Here are seven U-less Q-words worth remembering for next time you play Countdown or Scrabble:


Let’s start with this word of Arabic origin for a vertical shaft in which water is stored. You’re most likely to find qanats in the deserts of North Africa and the Middle East, and you’d probably be very glad if you did.


Probably the most common ‘Q without U’ word (yes, alright, there is a U in it, but not straight after the Q), the burqa is a garment worn by some Muslim women to cover their bodies, including the face.


An odd-looking word of Eskimo origin, an umiaq is a larger alternative to a kayak, and is used for whale hunting in parts in Alaska and northern Canada.


As mentioned, our keyboard layout starts with a Q, and that’s not by pure chance. The layout we know today was conjured up by Christopher Latham Sholes nearly 150 years ago, and was designed to keep letters that commonly follow one another apart so that typewriter keys didn’t jam. Similarly, the Q and other lesser-used letters were kept away from the ‘home keys’ (the ones our fingers rest on if we touch type).


Alaskan Inuits use this word to refer to muskox wool. It’s not the cheapest of materials – a qiviut scarf can set you back around £200.


Playing this one in Scrabble gets you the funniest looks imaginable! Unless, perhaps, you’re playing a specialist in Islamic law, who would know that a waqf is a donation made for religious reasons.


If you were in Albania, you would struggle to get by without several thousand of these. The qindar is the smallest unit of currency there, and you need 100 of them to make a lek

These are in addition to the Scrabble staples of qi (a life force in Chinese philosophy), qat (an African plant) and qin (a stringed instrument), all of which shows that Q can, just about, live with or without U. Presumably, this is not what Bono was singing about in his 1987 hit.

A picture speaks a thousand words – images can assist with content marketing

Advocates of content marketing often emphasise the importance of the words you use, and for good reason. Your blog posts and social media interventions are at  (more…)

Keywords still count when it comes to successful content marketing

Last year, Google made a significant change to the way it ranks search results. The Penguin 2.0 release of its search algorithm favours websites packed with reputable, quality content, and is also  (more…)

Converting social media marketing in to sales – some quick tips

Engaging with the world of social media can be many things to many people; it can be good fun, and it can help business owners makeĀ  (more…)

Why is a carrot female?: English speakers’ struggle with noun genders

Anybody who has ever tried to learn a foreign language will be familiar with not only finding out the words for nouns, but having to remember their gender as well. French and Spanish have masculine and feminine nouns, while German and Dutch speakers also throw  (more…)

“Hello mum, I’m on YouTube” – the benefits of video marketing

For some business owners, the thought of making and appearing in a marketing video can be daunting. However, be reassured that, whilst a  (more…)

Authority – a golden ingredient in any SEO strategy

SEO (Search Engine Optimisation) is the process of fine-tuning your website content to help that site achieve the best possible search engine rankings. There’s something of a consensus in (more…)

Net neutrality – Or the equal distribution of web content to all

Net neutrality is a big, complex subject touching on computer networking, the law, ethics and even censorship (as argued by some). Even so, whilst net neutrality is  (more…)

If you’re going to interrupt customers, at least make it worth their while

Sometimes, the process of clumsily promoting your business through social media is referred to pejoratively as “interruption marketing” – butting in on whatever a user is doing, or intending to do, and asking them to  (more…)

Older Posts »